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Jackies look to go Far' in semi

THE half-time cuppa was welcome at Mearnóg. A chilly breeze was beginning to brew in Portmarnock.

Dublin led at the break, 0-6 to 0-3, and at the finish, 0-11 to 0-8. Laois didn't make it easy. They never do.

The two sides have got to know each other well over the years. They still talk about the 2010 All-Ireland semi-final.

Tracey Lawlor is still dancing on top of the pops. One of the best footballers to have played the game. One of the fittest too.

She was at the heart of the Laois effort on Sunday. Trish Fogarty excelled at centre half-back and Mary Kirwan showed her guile up front.

Mary struck one free that came from the Maurice Fitzgerald School. Her two sisters, Martha and Noirin, also put in worthy shifts.

Word came through on the wire that Meath had beaten Donegal. That meant that Laois, two points ahead of the Royals at the start of the day, had to get something here.

But the Dubs just did enough, and now the Jackies will play Monaghan for a place in the Bord Gáis Energy NFL Division 1 final.

"That should be a good one," noted Dublin selector, Pat Ring. "We played them a couple of weeks ago and it was a great match.

"Laois gave us a good challenge. But this is the level where we want to be. We need to be in Division 1.

"We had a bit of a shaky period after half-time, but we settled then and we finished strongly. Our fitness showed there at the end."

If there were given out the prize for Player-of-the-Match, Denise Masterson would have topped most people's poll.

Denise keeps it simple. Give it to a Dublin shirt. Keep the river flowing. And block off all the avenues and alleyways.

Siobhan McGrath also attracted high marks, while in attack, Amy McGuinness, Sinead Aherne and Orlaith Egan did their share of the shopping.

Those scores were vital because Laois came more and more into it as the minutes ticked down. The Dublin defence saw a lot of the ball. Cliodhna O'Connor couldn't afford to leave the door on the latch.

At one stage, the hosts led by just a point, 0-8 to 0-7. Then came three home scores on the bounce.

Egan showed courage in punching over the first of them. Aherne added a free before Egan struck from play.

But still Laois looked dangerous. Spectators got a whiff of a Laois goal in the air. But Dublin held firm, despite finishing with 13 players after Natalia Hyland and McGrath were sin-binned late on.

But all was well on the coast, especially when it was revealed that the great Kathleen Colreavy had the kettle on the boil.

DUBLIN: C O'Connor (Naomh Mearnóg); G O'Malley (Ballyboden St Enda's), S McGrath (Thomas Davis), S O'Malley (Skerries Harps); G Fay (Ballyboden St Enda's), D Masterson (Naomh Mearnóg), F Hudson (Fingallians); N McEvoy (St Sylvester's), S Finnegan (Fingallians); A McGuinness (Fingallians, 0-3), N Hyland (Ballyboden St Enda's, 0-1), O Leonard (Naomh Maur, 0-1); A Ring (Foxrock Cabinteely), S Aherne (St Sylvester's, 0-3), O Egan (Na Fianna, 0-3). Subs used: S Woods (Raheny), A McKenna (St Brigid's), A Clarke (Naomh Mearnóg), S Treacy (St Sylvester's).


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