Ladies: Bohan 'thrilled' as Jackies claim second title
25 September 2017
Dublin manager Mick Bohan.
By Jackie Cahill
Mick Bohan’s Dublin smashed their TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football championship jinx as a record crowd flocked to Croke Park on finals day.
An official attendance of 46,286 flocked to the Drumcondra venue as Dublin, beaten finalists in 2014, 2015 and 2016, finally claimed a second title – and first since 2010.
A flurry of late goals accounted for Mayo, who had three players sin-binned during the game.
They finished the first half with 13 players after goalkeeper Yvonne Byrne and defender Rachel Kearns were booked.
The game was still very much in the melting pot down the stretch – Dublin ahead by 1-10 to 0-10 – when Orla Conlon was sent to the line.
That allowed the Sky Blues to open up the space that presented itself and they did so by nailing three goals in a five-minute spell – two from sub Sarah McCaffrey, sister of 2015 Footballer of the Year Jack.
Dublin’s men and ladies have now claimed senior crowns in the same year for the very first time and with the age profile healthy in Bohan’s set-up, there could be more success to follow in the coming years.
He was manager 14 years ago when Dublin lost to Mayo on final day – but this was sweet revenge for Jim Gavin’s former sidekick.
Bohan was told before the season that you should never go back but he said: “If we lived by that motto, this group wouldn’t have lifted an All-Ireland today because they have shown great resilience as human beings to come back and bounce back from lots of disappointing days.
“You’d have to be thrilled for them, they didn’t just represent themselves today but it was the groups of the last number of years, even going back to our own group in 2003. But we are very proud of them at this moment in time.”
Dublin were 1-6 to 0-6 clear at half-time against a Mayo side who had registered eight first half wides – seven alone from Cora Staunton, who may have played her last game for the Westerners in her 23rd season.
Niamh McEvoy’s 18th minute goal, set up by player of the match Noelle Healy, separated the sides but Bohan admitted that he was “concerned” at the interval.
He said: “We were concerned, because we had created a huge number of opportunities.
“They had two girls in the bin and we weren’t punishing them at that point in time.
“Ultimately in an All-Ireland final, you wonder if you are going to continue to create those opportunities.
“But thankfully they stayed in the moment, there’s no point in pondering things that have gone, particularly in big games like this.
“They stayed and played the game play by play, minute by minute and fortunately for us we eventually punished them.”
Dublin skipper Sinéad Aherne had also missed a 24th minute penalty, awarded after she was tripped by Mayo goalkeeper Byrne.
Aisling Tarpey came off the bench to make a fine save to keep Mayo in the hunt, before Healy struck the post before the break.
Dublin appeared to be the more composed outfit but it took them some time before they could shrug off a dogged Mayo.
Healy shot wide from a good position in the 37th minute but the floodgates opened down the home straight.
Nicole Owens set up McCaffrey for her first goal in the 52nd minute and three minutes later, Carla Rowe collected Molly Lamb’s precise cross-field ball before finishing well.
McCaffrey was on target again shortly afterwards from a Healy assist and Dublin could finally celebrate, as Mayo’s quest for a first title since 2003 was crushed.
Browne was also in charge ten years ago when they lost in a final, against Cork, and he has just completed the third year of his second stint in charge.
He reflected: “The one question really would be about Cora and what she’s going to do. Far be it for me to make any decisions for her.
“She’s always said if she was fit, healthy and enjoying her football, she’d continue to play.
“We need to go away and lick our wounds, ease the pain a bit. Nobody died.
“I don’t mean that in a flippant way but we lost a game a football.
“Yeah, it’s hard and it’s going to be a hard couple of days but like Mayo people all the time, we have character, we reinvent ourselves and we’ll come back in some shape or form.”
Dublin lost key defender Sinéad Finnegan to an early injury – but she finally got her hands on what had previously been an elusive All-Ireland medal.
She said: “Yeah, relief is the overwhelming feeling. We've been here so many times and like the last three years in a row.
“Losing is the most heartbreaking feeling ever, it's literally like being broken up with three years in a row in September, you've been dumped and you're very sad.
“Just to finally get over the line, it's absolutely amazing and we couldn't have done it with a better bunch of girls. These are like 31 of your best friends. It's just brilliant.”