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Ladies’ football: Donegal now looming for polished Dubs after impressive showing against Mayo


Kate Sullivan – who scored Dublin’s first goal in Portlaoise – in action against Mayo at MW Hire O’Moore Park. Photo: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

Kate Sullivan – who scored Dublin’s first goal in Portlaoise – in action against Mayo at MW Hire O’Moore Park. Photo: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

Kate Sullivan – who scored Dublin’s first goal in Portlaoise – in action against Mayo at MW Hire O’Moore Park. Photo: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

A RADIO drama shortened the road to Portlaoise. Angelina Nugent was the author. Cork and Waterford on RTÉ. Two of the sport’s most celebrated names.

Then Darragh Maloney came on. From Croke Park. He explained how a gust of wind almost blew his notes from Level 7 down into the lower deck of the Hogan.

It was breezy in the Midlands too. A scent of a turf fire wafted around MW Hire O’Moore Park. Woolly hats on the last Saturday in June.

Dublin chairman Joe Keane had the right idea as he cradled a steaming cup of coffee.

Over the tannoy, the Saw Doctors were playing: To Win Just Once.

People in the stand had their ears to their radios. The TG4 cameras were rolling on the terrace side of the ground.

Sinéad Aherne took a shot. It was waved wide. The referee, Brendan Rice, requested a Hawk-Eye check. The verdict came back. Wide. The men in the white coats have eyes in the back of their heads.

At one stage, Rice, from Down, wasn’t happy with the ball. It had gone soft. A new one came in. He kicked the original one behind the posts with all the assurance of James McCartan.

And when a ball went out of play, Dublin manager Mick Bohan directed it back to Nicole Owens. It was the pass of the day.

The children came on at half-time. By which stage Dublin were ahead, 0-8 to 0-5, having faced the stiff wind that blew into the town end.

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This field is required

Before the break, Dublin half-back Orlagh Nolan found herself under pressure. She was surrounded by Mayo jerseys. She was forced to run back towards her own goal. Trying to find a safe pair of hands in a blue shirt.

She didn’t panic. Or look for Row Z. She showed patience, and belief. Eventually, she got her pass away, and began a move that won Dublin a free at the other end of the pitch.

Dublin won by 2-14 to 1-7. They worked for it. Late on, Owens was deep in her own half. Foraging.

And when the result was long decided, the city boss was still sending out the memos.

Dublin’s first goal came nine minutes into the second half from Kate Sullivan. Concluding another sharp necklace of passes.

In the 49th minute, Lyndsey Davey, with the flick of a wrist, turned in Dublin’s second goal. And that put the tin hat, if not the woolly hat, on it.

Moyles keeping positive

MAYO manager Michael Moyles had just finished his post-match interview with TG4. He was running across the pitch.

The rain was falling. And the wind was howling. It was getting late on a Saturday night. High in the clouds, a flock of birds were enjoying the last waltz before bed.

Moyles stopped. To reflect on a match in which Mayo had contributed much.

He was already packing the positives in the suitcase for the next day out, a TG4 All-Ireland Championship quarter-final against Cork.

“It was great for us to play a team of the calibre of Dublin. It was a big test for us, and now we have Cork. Dublin and Cork are the aristocrats of ladies’ football.

“It was the first time for many of our players to have played against Dublin in championship football. And a game like that will certainly bring us on. We are working hard.”

Mayo’s spirit will have pleased him. The team kept going. Ignoring the scoreboard. The clock was well into the hour when Dublin were on the attack again.

Wide on the left, at the town end, the Dubs were constructing a move. Waiting for the moment to slip the ball inside. Into the clear. But up popped Lucy Wallace to steal the ball and storm down the pitch.

Just before closing time, Mayo got their goal. It was well deserved. Lisa Cafferky nipping in to find the basket.

They took fine points too. Putting the laces through the leather.

Bohan’s Blues keen to keep fine-tuning the piano

HANNAH Tyrrell never forgets to chalk the cue. That trusty, treasured left peg. She clipped over a couple of frees in O’Moore Park on Saturday night. And sent another over from play.

Her point from play came early in the second half. She gained a pocket of space. And used it to gently stroke the ball to its destination. She was content with the evening’s work.

“Conditions weren’t easy for both teams. We are happy enough with the performance, but there are still things to work on,” she said.

It’s Donegal now in the last eight.

“That will be a tough one. They beat us earlier this season in the semi-final of the National League. But when you are at the quarter-final stage, any team you get is going to be good.”

With Bohan’s Blues, it’s all about fine-tuning.

“In each game, we try to work on things here and there. And, hopefully, get better. And we’ll take things from this game to work on.”

Dublin began each half with a sprint.

“Playing into the wind was going to be tricky, so we had to be careful with our shots. It was nice to get a couple of early scores to settle our nerves. And it was the same in the second half, which helped to get us going again.”

Dublin scored the first point of the tie from the throw-in. Jennifer Dunne ran the length of the Curragh to set up Nicole Owens. And up went the white flag. The start of another blue flag day for the Dubs.

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