Wednesday 21 March 2018

Doherty leads Royal charge

LADIES FOOTBALL: Meath shocked TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football champions Dublin by 0-10 to 0-9 in yesterday's provincial semi-final at Naomh Mearnóg.

The Royal County had lost twice to Dublin already this year and were outclassed in the National League Division 2 final. But the visitors scored a famous win to send Dublin through the back door in their quest for a second successive All-Ireland title.

And it was substitute Ger Doherty who made a sensational impact in the closing stages as her three points, including the winning score, edged Meath to victory. Meath appeared the hungrier side from the start and at half-time they led by 0-5 to 0-4. Two points after half-time stretched Meath's lead to three, but Dublin fought back to level at 0-7 apiece.

Enter Doherty with 12 minutes of normal time remaining and two quick-fire points from the super-sub pushed Meath 0-9 to 0-7 clear. But Dublin, missing influential trio Siobhan McGrath, Lyndsey Davey and Amy McGuinness, hit back to level with points from top scorer Sinead Ahern and Elaine Kelly.

The stage was set for a heroine to emerge and Doherty stepped up to the plate to set up a provincial final meeting with Laois on July 17.

Meath also had goalkeeper Irene Munnelly to thank for a vital save in the 26th minute to deny Lyndsey Peat.

Meanwhile, beaten Division 1 finalists Laois booked their place in the Leinster decider with a narrow 0-17 to 1-13 victory against hosts Kildare in Newbridge.

Laois, managed by former county player Joe Higgins, started slowly and trailed by 0-1 to 1-4 after 10 minutes but their response was impressive, as Tracey Lawlor led the charge.

The O'Moore County rallied to within four points at half-time -- 0-5 to 1-4 -- before producing a commanding second-half performance to snatch victory. Deirdre Gately's goal in the 10th minute handed Kildare an early buffer but Laois settled and completely dominated the third quarter and didn't let Sinead Doogue's penalty miss, which sailed over the bar, deter them.

Lawlor top-scored for Laois with seven points, while Martina Dunne notched five points.

Irish Independent

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