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Blue wave sinks Lilies

THE Dublin U-16s get up early. Now they have the Leinster Championship trophy to polish.

In Athy on Sunday afternoon, the captain of the Blues, Lauren Magee, held aloft the prize. She made a lovely speech.

Her family joined in the applause. Her dad, Jonny, is a Kilmacud and Dublin footballing icon.

The Blues beat Kildare, 4-10 to 1-8.

"Maybe it wasn't our best performance of the season, but a win is a win," reflected manager, Pat Kane.

"We had to battle. There was a gale blowing. It was raining. Miserable conditions."

There was a decent crowd. They had to huddle in the stand. They were on their feet for one of the highlights of the hour.

It came from goalkeeper, Catherine Murphy, who made a magnificent double penalty save.

"It was a brilliant piece of goalkeeping," explains Pat. "She stopped the initial kick and then managed to save the rebound as well. Fantastic."

Mia Jennings got the player of the match. There were many leading contenders. Chief among them was Erica Byrne.

Dublin will now play the Ulster champions in the All-Ireland semi-final on August 10.

"Three months is a long gap. We'll sit down now and plan our schedule.

"We weren't looking beyond Leinster. But now we'll be able to take the time to consider our options in keeping the girls active over the summer.

"We won five out of five in the group stage, so we are where we wanted to be. We were very pleased with the campaign and winning Leinster is a nice reward for the girls."

They work hard enough. "We'd be training on Saturday mornings at 7.30 or 8am, so they are a dedicated group. We have 31 players in the squad and there's a wide range of clubs.

"We began the trials at the end of October. We had 187 girls out. The standard was very high," says Pat, who manages the team with Martin McDonnell, Fergus O'Carroll, Karen Flood, Claire Ryan and Sinéad Vivash.

In the group, Dublin beat Meath, Kildare, Wexford, Offaly and Laois.

"We actually beat Kildare by more last Sunday than we did in the pool match. We won all our matches well, but we know we still have to improve," remarks Pat.

SCORERS - Dublin: Emma Colgan 1-5 (2f), Mia Jennings 1-1, Ann Marie Troy, Holly Greer 1-0 each, Amy Conroy 0-2, Hannah O'Neill, Megan Morrissey 0-1 each.

Kildare: Niamh Mulhall 1-2 (1-0 pen), Rachel Reidy 0-2, Shauna Kendrick, Molly Price, Orlaith Kirwan (1f), Caoimhe O'Fearghail (1f) 0-1 each.

DUBLIN: Catherine Murphy, Zenouska Murphy, Ciara Crotty, Niamh Donnelly, Hannah Hegarty, Lauren Magee, Rebecca McDonnell, Holly Greer, Erica Byrne, Mia Jennings, Ann Marie Troy, Hannah O'Neill, Ellen Curran, Megan Morrissey, Emma Colgan. Subs: Amy Conroy for Morrissey, Aoife Kane for O'Neill, Ellie Halloran for Z Murphy.

KILDARE: Natasha Murphy, áine Mulligan, Emma Lyons, Sabrina Kennedy, áine Dunne, Lydia Furey, Louise Scully, Shauna Kendrick, Rachel Reidy, Niamh Mulhall, Molly Price, Niamh Flynn, Orlaith Kirwan, Emily Aulsberry, Caoimhe O'Fearghail. Subs: Laura Scales for Aulsberry, Sinéad Harney for O'Fearghail, Aisling O'Connor for Kennedy.

PLAYER OF MATCH: Mia Jennings (Dublin).

REF: Stephen McNulty (Wicklow).


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