'Not ideal' but sub Owens hits late goal to book final place
Dublin 2-8 Galway 2-7 - Lidl NFL Division 1 semi-final
Dublin's late, late match-winner Nicole Owens admitted that coming off the bench to score the decisive goal against Galway in Kinnegad yesterday was "not the ideal way" to win.
But Owens was pleased nonetheless to see Dublin advance to a final clash with Mayo on May 6 - and put themselves within an hour of a first-ever League crown.
Supersub Owens, who came on at half-time, struck at the death to deny Galway and she said: "It's not the ideal way. We left it until the end but we won. That's all that matters.
"They led for the entire game and they really brought it to us and they're probably feeling very sick. We've had it snatched away from us in the last minute, so it's nice to be on the right side.
"We're not entirely happy with that performance. It was a poor execution of hand passing and kicking.
"They didn't score for the last 25 minutes which reflects so admirably on our defence. But we really struggled to get our own scores as well."
Galway hit the ground running at the start, hitting the net inside 60 seconds. Tracey Leonard, Caitriona Cormican and Nicola Ward did the spadework to set up Leanne Coen before a Leonard free on four minutes left it 1-1 to 0-0.
Dublin forced two saves from Dearbhla Gower, but did open through a Sinead Aherne free on eight minutes.
Leonard and Sinead Goldrick traded white flags, but when Dublin did equalise on 20 minutes, their goal was as slick as Galway's first.
Aherne and Emily Flanagan carved open space and Niamh McEvoy was placed to hit the net.
Galway gave the perfect response on 23 minutes when Mairead Seoighe found the top corner to make it 2-3 to 1-3.
Leonard and Olivia Divilly added points as Dublin went down to 14 players following an Olwen Carey yellow card - but Aherne's kick before the break left four between them.
Galway were 2-7 to 1-5 ahead on 38 minutes with Coen and Leonard raising white flags, but that was to be their final score.
Dublin reduced the arrears through McEvoy, Noelle Healy and Aherne entering stoppage time.
It was always going to take something special to decide it and Owens delivered when required, starting the move and interchanging passes with a couple of team-mates before bagging the crucial goal.
Galway needed one more point to force extra-time and they had a late free that tailed just wide, as Dublin prevailed.
Scorers - Galway: T Leonard 0-5 (4f), L Coen 1-1, M Seoighe 1-0, O Divilly 0-1.
Dublin: N McEvoy 1-1, S Aherne 0-3 (3f), N Owens 1-0, N Healy 0-2, S Goldrick 0-1, L Magee 0-1.
Galway - D Gower; F Cooney, S Lynch, S Burke; C Cooney, N Ward, C Cormican; L Gannon, O Divilly; A McDonagh, T Leonard, A Davoren; M Seoighe, S Conneally, L Coen. Subs: R Leonard for Conneally (41 mins), D Brennan for Coen (46 mins), E Reaney for Seoighe (54 mins).
Dublin - C Trant; M Byrne, D Murphy, L Caffrey; S McGrath, S Goldrick, N Collins; L Magee, O Carey; H O'Neill, N McEvoy, L Davey; E Flanagan, N Healy, S Aherne. Subs: N Owens for Flanagan (HT), A Kane for McGrath (40 mins), J Dunne for O'Neill (42 mins), E Rutledge for Davey (53 mins), S Killeen for Magee (57 mins).
Ref - S Mulvihill (Kerry)