Lucky 13 as Jackies cruise past Westmeath
Dublin 3-18 Westmeath 0-8
Looking through the roll of honour in the Leinster Senior championship, it is perhaps hard to believe that up until the new millenium Dublin had not a title to their name.
Sunday's 19-point victory at Netwatch Dr Cullen Park was their 13th provincial success and Mick Bohan, the man who started that revolution in his first term in charge, believes that winning feeling hasn't lessened in the intervening years.
'It is a great achievement. I was involved when we won our first Leinster in 2002 and then we had our first all Ireland appearance in 2003. And fifteen years later it doesn't get devalued. These are special days its all hard work and if you are going to be successful at anything you are going to have to work hard.' said the Dublin manager afterwards.
Dublin's sixth win on the bounce and third final win over the Lake county again saw a sizeable gap between the two on the scoreboard although it would be remiss not to mention the contribution of the Dublin defence who put in some crucial stops in the first half to keep out a determined Westmeath outfit.
Fiona Claffey at number six was particularly strong through the middle for Westmeath but some costly wides in the opening quarter would cost the midlanders.
Dublin would go into this game without all star Lysndey Davey while Sarah McCaffrey was another ommission from the starting fifteen named in the match day programme.
Davey who returns to action when the club championship resumes this week will be an invaluable addition to the Dublin squad ahead of the All Ireland quarter final in just under five weeks time.
Nonetheless Bohan was not short on options up front on the day with Noelle Healy at full forward full deserved of her man--of-the match display with a fine return of 2-3.
Westmeath like last year committed numbers en masse behind the ball but couldnt contain a slick Dublin side who by half time had led by 3-8 to 0-3.
The second half as such turned into something into procession although Dublin didnt drop their intensity with Nicole Owens strong running from wing forward underlining Dublin's fitness levels on the day.
And Fingallian's girl Denise McKenna having come on at half time for Rebecca McDonnell certainly did her prospects no harm with a good return up front.
From the time Healy had registered Dublin's first point, the Jackies were never headed although with score at 0-3 to 0-1, Westmeath came close to an early goal only for Fiona Claffey to see her shot charged down.
Dublin themselves were turned over on a few occasions in attack but eventually their persistence paid off when Carla Rowe's pass into Healy on 17 minutes saw the Brigid's girl finish past the Westmeath captain.
Dublin continued with their assault on the Westmeath goal with Rowe pitching in with back to back scores before Lauren Magee (daughter of former Wicklow boss and Dublin midfielder Johnny Magee) delivering an emphatic finish past the keeper on 24 minutes to bring Dublin's lead to double figures.
All the while Dublin's defence remained defence with the very impressive Leah Caffrey making a timely intervention to deny Westmeath another goal chance.
Dublin then registered their third goal in injury time when Healy calmly rolled the ball soccer style past the unfortunate Westmeath keeper as Dublin went in at the break with a commanding 14 point lead.
And the Metropolitans kept the scoreboard ticking over with the two sides trading a point each before McKenna opened her account shortly after. Owens then produced a tremendous burst to set up team mate and Dublin captain Sinead Aherne who lead the scoring for Dublin in the second half.
And the former player of the year attributed Dublin's strong second half running to the competition on the bench.
'There were girls on the bench who are itching to get on, and if you dont keep up your work rate and keep knocking over the girls theres girls that want that jersey so you are always conscious to do as much as you can' said Aherne
Dublin: Ciara Trant, Martha Byrne, Sinead Finnegan, Rachel Ruddy 0-1, Sinead Goldrick, Niamh Collins 0-1, Leah Caffrey, Niamh McEvoy 0-1, Olwen Carey, Nicole Owens 0-2, Lauren Magee 1-1, Carla Rowe 0-3, Rebecca McDonnell, Noelle Healy 2-3, Sinead Aherne 0-4(0-1f). Subs: Denise McKenna 0-2(0-1f) for McDonnell, Fiona Hudson for Caffrey, Molly Lamb for N McEvoy, Laura McGinley for Magee, Hannah O'Neill for Owens
Westmeath: Karen Walsh, Rachel Dillon, Rebecca Dunne, Aileen Martin, Fiona Coyle, Fiona Claffey 0-2, Laura Brennan, Karen McDermott, Laura Walsh 0-2(0-1f), Johanna Maher, Maud Annie Foley 0-1, Lucy McCartan 0-1, Amie Giles, Leona Archibold, Ciara Blundell. subs: Katie Dunne for Dillon, Kelly Boyce Jordan for Coyle, Chloe Kelly for Brennan, Tracey Dillon for Walsh.