Sinead Aherne hat-trick steers the Jackies into semi-finals
LGFA Lidl NFL Division 1: Dublin 5-15 Monaghan 3-10
Dublin All-Ireland captain Sinead Aherne marked her first competitive start for the county this season with a terrific 3-3 as Mick Bohan's team registered their fourth consecutive win to book their place in the semi-finals with two games to spare.
Aherne was in irresistible form on the day as a Dublin inside line comprising of Aherne, Noelle Healy and Siobhan Killeen tore the Monaghan defence to shreds.
They held a comfortable 5-7 to 1-6 lead at the break and not even the introduction of five substitutes at half-time could halt Dublin's momemtum on what was an overcast day at the St Clares pitch in Glasnevin.
Monaghan, who remain rooted to the bottom of the table, had fired over two early points through Muireann Atkinso and Leanne Maguire before Aherne hit the back of the net three minutes into the game, with Siobhan Woods following suit soon after.
Healy then set up Aherne for her second, with Killeen then adding Dublin's fourth goal mid-way through the half.
Aherne then completed her hat-trick a minute later to leave Monaghan facing an uphill task, the score reading 5-3 to 0-3 at that stage.
Monaghan, however, showed their battling qualities with points from Atkinson, Maguire and Cora Courtney, with Ciara McAnespie finding the back of the net for the visitors.
However, Dublin refused to take their foot off the gas, with points from Killeen (2), Healy and Aherne seeing them comfortably ahead by 5-7 to 1-6 at the interval.
Dublin would make five substitutions at the break, with both Carla Rowe and Orlagh Nolan registering points soon after their introduction, before Healy struck for Monaghan's second goal.
The away side would then enjoy their best spell of the game which saw both Atkinson and Maguire find the back of the net, the latter off a penalty on 41 minutes.
A subsequent point from Maguire would cut the gap to to eight points, but closing scores from Aherne, Lyndsey Davey, Rowe and Healy would seal the deal for Dublin in the final quarter.
Next up for the Jackies is an away trip next Sunday to league leaders Galway who overcame a determined Tipperary side by five points at Bansha on Saturday, with Tracey Leonard hitting eight points for the Westerners.
Dublin: Rachel Fleming; Rachel Ruddy, Olwen Carey, Ciara Ruddy; Sinead Finnegan, Katie Fitzgibbon, Lauren Magee; Jennifer Dunne 0-1, Niamh Hetherton 0-1; Hannah O'Neill, Siobhan Woods 1-0, Kate Sullivan; Sinead Aherne 3-3(0-3f), Siobhan Killeen 1-2, Noelle Healy 0-3. Subs: Ciara Trant for Fleming, Sara Fagan for C Ruddy, Orlagh Nolan 0-1 for O'Neill, Linsdey Davey 0-1 for Woods, Carla Rowe 0-2 for Sullivan (all h-t), Eva Kehoe for R Ruddy (44), Ciara McGuigan for Killeen, Nicole Owens for Magee (53), Oonagh Whyte for Aherne (56).