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dublin upbeat after secure league start

THE sun came out to welcome the Jackies to their new home last Sunday.

A state-of-the-art complex at DCU. An all-weather carpet that you could have in your front room.

A neat terrace. A tidy crowd looked on. It was Dublin's first game in Division 1 of the Tesco Home Grown National Football League.

Both corners knew each other well. Peter Clarke is the Monaghan manager. He managed the Dubs in the past.


Pat Ring was alongside him in the dugout. Pat was a Dublin selector with Peter.

The Blues boss, Gregory McGonigle, had many good years in charge of the Farney Army.

And a slice of banter lifted the mood in the Glasnevin afternoon.

Gregory called for the umpires to keep an eye on the Monaghan defenders holding the jerseys of the home forwards.

"Who taught them how to do that," called a visiting voice from the gallery.

Gregory had a little chuckle and replied: "How would I know!"

Before the off, Monaghan's goalkeeper, Linda Martin was warming up. A Monaghan follower wished her all the best as she sets out on yet another campaign.

Linda has seen a few. She is one of the best goal keepers in the business.

She made the save-of-the-match here, getting down low to block a certain goal from Eabha Rutledge seven minutes into the second half.

The Dublin goalie, Ciara Trant, did all that was asked of her. She never spilled a drop.

And the highlight of her display was a diving second half stop from Grainne McNally.

Those two moments were the nearest the hour came to producing a goal. Yet, after half-time, as Niamh McEvoy set off down the right, she lost a boot. But she was denied the chance to rekindle a Jayo moment.

Niamh had a fine game in the number 14 shirt. She was constantly showing for the ball, and doing good things with it. Kim Flood the same.

The county's new skipper, Lyndsey Davey, brought the batteries. One minute sparking an attack, and the next helping to bolt the back door.

Cora Courtney excelled on the Monaghan half-forward line. Her quick feet skipped over the turf and she's well able to avoid the traffic.

Monaghan didn't lack openings, especially in the opening pages, but they shot eight wides, two more than the hosts.

The Ulster side had little joy against the solid home defence where Lucy Collins impressed at centre half-back.

Lucy's elegant left peg also popped over two frees.

The Dubs were seven points to one ahead at the break.

It was Carla Rowe's second minute free that opened their 2015 account.

Also on the mark from play before the oranges were Sarah McCaffrey, Rutledge, McEvoy, Rowe and Davey.

Collins clipped over a free, and the lone reply came from Catriona McConnell, who tied up the contest in the seventh minute.

McConnell got one of the best scores of the day ten minutes into the second period, with Laura McEnaney getting Monaghan's other point. Yet the Dubs always looked in control, and the busy midfielder, Sarah McCaffrey, capped a noble contribution with two further fine points from play.

Dublin's other second half points came from the placed ball - one from Collins and two from Rowe.