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Wednesday 23 August 2017

Dubs enjoy a stroll in the park as they show Westmeath no mercy in Croker

Jennifer and Niamh Dowling celebrate after the match at Croke Park Photo: Arthur Carron
Jennifer and Niamh Dowling celebrate after the match at Croke Park Photo: Arthur Carron

Sean O'Grady at Croke Park

It was a super Sunday for the Boys in Blue and their army of supporters as Dublin sailed through to the Leinster final.

More than 33,000 fans flooded Croke Park to watch Dublin triumph over Westmeath with a final score of 4-29 to 0-10.

Dublin fans were euphoric following the victory and are already looking to challenges deep into the summer.

"We go to all the games, we try our best," said Niamh Dowling (26), from Glasnevin, Dublin, who attended the match with her cousin Jennifer.

Westmeath fans Emma McDonnell (14) and Ali Nolan (23) Photo: Arthur Carron
Westmeath fans Emma McDonnell (14) and Ali Nolan (23) Photo: Arthur Carron

"It was brilliant, really good. Dublin will win the All-Ireland final, definitely. We were in a Premium Hogan box but we wished we were on the Hill. It's electrifying over there."

The ladies noticed an increased security presence at the match, with all attendees subject to bag checks on the way in.

"You could notice the security was bumped up. There were bag checks which they usually wouldn't have.

"They would check for alcohol, like if you had a bag on you or something going in, but now they were checking handbags as well," they told the Irish Independent.

Wayne Bracken from Coolock with his daughter Ella (4) and son Rhys (8) Photo: Arthur Carron
Wayne Bracken from Coolock with his daughter Ella (4) and son Rhys (8) Photo: Arthur Carron

While Dublin fans enjoyed the match, some were hoping for a more nail-biting finish.

"This one was alright. It was kind of a whitewash. Westmeath did the best they could but Dublin are the best," said Sophie Flanagan (18), from Lucan.

However, the mood inside the stadium was still second to none.

"The atmosphere in Croke Park is amazing. It's my favourite place to go for matches," she said.

While their hopes of making it to the Leinster final were crushed, Westmeath supporter Ali Nolan (23) believes her team put up a good fight.

"Fair play to them, they went out and they tried their best. Dublin is a hard team to beat. They really try their hardest every year and this year in particular," she said.

GAA fan Wayne Bracken (36), from Coolock in north Dublin, reckons the Boys in Blue face some tough hurdles in their bid to make it to the All-Ireland final.

"They will have some serious challenges ahead. For me, Tyrone is probably the best team in the country, with Dublin," he said.

Mr Bracken believes Kildare could give Dublin a run for their money in the Leinster Final, too. "Like most families, we go to everything up to the semi-final and then can't get tickets for the final. I think Kildare will give them a good match in the Leinster final. The wife is from Kildare as well so that'll be interesting," he said.

Irish Independent

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