Saturday 7 December 2019

Aherne and Davey lead way as 'Jackies' cruise past Laois

Aherne, who returned to the fold this year after a year away, contributed seven points, including six frees. Photo: Sportsfile
Aherne, who returned to the fold this year after a year away, contributed seven points, including six frees. Photo: Sportsfile

Independent.ie sportsdesk

There were big wins for Gregory McGonigle's holders Dublin and last year's runners-up Westmeath yesterday as the round-robin series of the TG4 Leinster Ladies Senior Football Championship got underway.

The 'Jackies' cruised to a 3-15 to 0-4 victory over Laois at Naomh Mearnóg, as Westmeath saw off Meath 5-21 to 2-14.

Sinead Aherne and Lyndsey Davey led the way in the scoring stakes for Dublin, beaten All-Ireland finalists in 2014 and 2015, as they began their summer campaign on a positive note.

Aherne, who returned to the fold this year after a year away, contributed seven points, including six frees, and Davey collected 1-4 from play.

Sub Ciara Ruddy enhanced her claims for a starting place with two second-half goals for Dublin in what was an accomplished display from McGonigle's charges.

With 22 minutes gone, Dublin were seven points clear before Noirin Kirwan finally got Laois off the mark from a 20-metre free.

Laois suffered a blow before half-time when Jane Moore was sin-binned and Aherne (above) slotted over the free to hand Dublin a 0-8 to 0-1 interval lead.

Davey pounced for the opening goal of the game in the 40th minute and that score sent Dublin 15 points clear and out of sight.

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Dublin lost Nicole Owens to the sin-bin but the numbers were evened up when Amy Loughman followed suit.

Ruddy came off the bench to grab her brace of goals and she could have had a hat-trick late on but her effort went wide.

Next Sunday, Dublin will tackle Westmeath away from home and already, this looks like a Leinster final dress rehearsal in a four-team group where the top two will contest the provincial decider.

The counties met in last year's final and Westmeath could have potential revenge in their sights as they enjoyed a big win over a Meath team featuring five championship debutants in Summerhill.

One of those new players, Emma White, was one of two second=half Meath goalscorers, Niamh O'Sullivan the other.

But dominant Westmeath had goals from Leona Archibold, Ciara Blundell and Laura Walsh in the first half, before Karen Hegarty and Maud Annie Foley raised green flags after the break.

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