Jackies and Kingdom dig deep to earn last-four spots
Ladies All-ireland sfc wrap
TWO of the four semi-finalists in this year's championship were confirmed last Saturday.
Leinster champions Dublin and Munster surprise package Kerry advanced to the last four with hard-fought victories at Banagher.
Dublin, beaten All-Ireland finalists last year, had to dig deep against beaten Munster finalists Clare in a 2-18 to 2-12 victory. Earlier, Bernie Breen inspired the Kingdom to a narrow 2-9 to 1-11 victory against Connacht champions Galway.
Sinead Ahern scored 2-4 for Dublin and player of the match Elaine Kelly added 0-4 as the Sky Blues booked their place in the last four.
At half-time, Dublin led by just a single point, 1-7 to 1-6.
In the opening minutes of the second half Dublin reeled off five unanswered scores to move six points clear. Clare hit back with two points before Dublin responded with three scores of their own to move seven points clear, 1-15 to 1-8.
Back came Clare with a fine goal from Niamh O'Dea in the 46th minute and two further points cut the gap back to just two.
With 10 minutes left Clare could have edged in front, but Eimear Considine was denied by Cliodhna O'Connor's brilliant point-blank save.
Three minutes later, Ahern wriggled clear of two defenders before firing to the bottom corner to effectively clinch victory for Dublin.
Meanwhile, Kerry held on by just a single point against Connacht champions Galway. The sides were level twice in the early stages but by half-time, Kerry had established a 0-8 to 0-3 lead.
The second half was punctuated by four penalty awards and the first of those arrived five minutes into the second half, when Mags O'Donoghue bagged the first of her two goals for Kerry.
That goal handed the Kingdom an eight-point lead -- 1-9 to 0-4 -- before Galway launched a strong fightback. Three unanswered points cut the gap back to five before Una Carroll's missed penalty in the 47th minute.
Two points from Kara Mullins brought the Westerners to within a goal -- 0-9 to 1-9. But Kerry assumed control again in the 53rd minute when O'Donoghue was successful again from the penalty spot.
Galway responded with points from Patricia Gleeson and Mullins before Dora O'Gorman scored an injury-time penalty to cut Kerry's winning margin to a point.