By Daragh Small
Dublin manager Mick Bohan says his players were entirely responsible for their brilliant second half display as they blew Kerry away with a stunning performance at Dr Hyde Park on Sunday.
The 18-point victory sets up a TG4 All-Ireland semi-final with Galway, the only team who have defeated Dublin competitively this year.
The Tribeswomen claimed a 1-17 to 1-15 win over Dublin at Abbotstown in March before Nicole Owens scored late for the reigning All-Ireland champions to deny Galway in the Lidl NFL semi-final.
But on Sunday it was the goals from Niamh McEvoy, Hannah O’Neill and Sinéad Aherne that ended Kerry’s year at the quarter-final stage.
“In the second half we completely controlled it and there were some really good scores kicked,” said Bohan.
“At this level of competition and the quality of the group that we are working with, we don’t really need to tell them.
“We give them small indicators of what they need to strive for but more often than not, they have the answers themselves before we present them at half-time.
“They would have been disappointed with that first half but they bounced and put on a really good show in the second half.
“We will look forward to it now, two weeks’ time against Galway. They are a fine team. In the national league they beat us. In the semi-final we scored with the last kick, a goal, to win by a point.
“We know it’s going to be a fantastic challenge but we are prepared for that. We threw at them what we had in the league. We know that they are a fine team and it’s going to be a fantastic battle in the semi-final.”
Kerry were well in the game at half-time and only trailed by 0-9 to 1-3 after Emma Dineen’s strike. But Dublin had all of the momentum after the break.
For the Kingdom they reached an All-Ireland quarter-final on the back of being relegated from Division 1 this year. And manager Eddie Sheehy was pleased with the overall outlook.
“We did okay in the first half, losing Eilish O’Leary didn’t help us and it took us a small bit of time to get settled,” said Sheehy.
“There is big disappointment today because we had trained and worked hard to get into a quarter-final.
“We will look at the first half, how we played there, and the way we came into it at certain stages in the second half. And we will kick on from there.
“The team is young so there are going to get the experience from today. They are going to get the experience from the year that we had.
“Hopefully that will improve them then for next year.”
Scorers – Dublin: S Aherne 1-7 (3f), N McEvoy 1-2, H O’Neill 1-1, N Healy 0-2, C Rowe 0-2, S Goldrick 0-1, L Magee 0-1, L Davey 0-1, N Owens 0-1, O Whyte 0-1.
Kerry: E Dineen 1-1, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh 0-3 (3f), S Houlihan 0-2 (0-1f), A Brosnan 0-1.
Dublin: C Trant; M Byrne, N Collins, L Caffrey; S Goldrick, O Carey, D Murphy; L Magee, S McGrath; N Owens, L Davey, C Rowe; S Aherne, N McEvoy, N Healy.
Subs: A Kane for Murphy (40), H O’Neill for Davey (47), A Connolly for Magee (51), S Finnegan for Rowe (54), O Whyte for Rowe (54).
Kerry: L Fitzgerald; L Coughlan, A Desmond, E Lynch; D Kearney, S Murphy, A O’Connell; L Scanlon, A Brosnan; E Dineen, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh, A Foley; K O’Sullivan, E O’Leary, S Houlihan.
Subs: A Murphy for O’Leary (20), A O’Callaghan for Coughlan (46), S Burns for Foley (46), D Greaney for S Murphy (50), B Ryan for O’Sullivan (58).
Referee: G McMahon (Mayo).
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