Dublin beat Galway to claim third consecutive All-Ireland title in front of record crowd

Dublin beat Galway to claim third consecutive All-Ireland title in front of record crowd

Dublin 2-3 - 0-4 Galway

A record-breaking crowd of 56,114, but the fare they bore witness to won’t live long in the memory as Dublin needed just five scores to secure a third consecutive All-Ireland ladies football title

Ahead by 1-0 to 0-1 after a forgettable and error-strewn opening, Dublin notably upped their intensity upon the restart, with Hannah O’Neill’s 39th-minute goal putting a six-point gap between themselves and Galway which the challengers never looked like bridging.

That this was a terribly poor spectacle - the lowest-scoring final since Mayo’s 1-4 to 0-5 win over Dublin in 2003 - won’t bother Dublin in the slightest as they join Cork and Kerry as the only counties to manage a three-in-a-row of All-Ireland crowns.

Despite enjoying a numerical advantage following Mairead Seoighe's sin-binning on 37 minutes, Dublin would fail to add to their tally between the 39th and 54th minute.

The Connacht champions did narrow the margin to three during this period as Tracey Leonard converted a pair of frees, while her namesake Roisin also wrote her name onto a most sparse scoresheet, but the goal Galway required never looked like materialising.

Dublin, as they have done time and again during their three years of dominance, shut the opposition out of the scoring zone by packing the area in front of their goal with 12 and 13 bodies.

Sinead Aherne, who was unusually subdued, and half-time sub Noelle Healy saw them over the finish line with points in the closing minutes.

Dublin beat Galway to claim third consecutive All-Ireland title in front of record crowd

The scoreboard operator at Croke Park could have gone for a nap during the first-half of proceedings such was the inability of either side to find the target.

Both teams managed just one first-half score each, with the crowd having to wait all of 22 minutes for the opener, the ever-excellent Sinéad Goldrick finishing a well-worked move to the Galway net.

Goldrick, who ran untracked from deep, was at the end of a series of passes involving Jennifer Dunne and O'Neill.

Now, Goldrick still had a job on her hands when collecting possession from O’Neill given the close attention of four maroon shirts, but the 29-year old showed all her experience and guile to get her shot off, the ball looping in over the head of Galway ‘keeper Lisa Murphy.

The Tribeswomen were off the mark two minutes later, Sarah Conneally’s fine kick stemming from a stray Dublin pass which Olivia Divilly, who had a fine tussle with Goldrick, won.

Dublin beat Galway to claim third consecutive All-Ireland title in front of record crowd

The Galway management, to their credit, got their match-ups spot on as Nicola Ward kept quiet Carla Rowe while Sinead Aherne, though sparsely fed, was frustrated by Sinead Burke.

But while Galway was containing well the attacking threat of the All-Ireland champions, they were letting themselves down at the far end of the field.

Five first-half wides were clocked, Tracey Leonard and Louise Ward dropped shots short, while Leonard also had one which came back down off the posts.

Dublin, mind you, weren’t exactly a picture of economy. Mick Bohan’s side tallied three wides, with Niamh McEvoy hitting the post and also dropping a free short.

Dublin beat Galway to claim third consecutive All-Ireland title in front of record crowd

They added five more wides in the second-half and yet were still able to get over the line with five to spare.

Scorers for Dublin: S Goldrick, H O’Neill (1-0 each); S Aherne, N Healy, L Davey (0-1 each).

Scorers for Galway: T Leonard (0-2, 0-2 frees); S Conneally, R Leonard (0-1 each).

Dublin: C Trant; M Byrne, N Collins, E Rutledge; A Kane, O Carey, S Goldrick; L Magee, S McGrath; L Davey, N McEvoy, C Rowe; H O’Neill, J Dunne, S Aherne.

Subs: N Healy for Dunne (HT); C O’Connor for McEvoy (43); O Whyte for O’Neill (50); R Ruddy for A Kane (55); N Hetherton for Rowe (60).

Galway: L Murphy; S Burke, B Hannon, O Murphy; N Ward, S Lynch, S Molloy; O Divilly, M Seoighe, M Glynn; T Leonard, S Conneally, R Leonard.

Subs: F Cooney for Conneally (43); C Cooney for O Murphy (46); L Coen for Seoighe (47 mins); A Trill for R Leonard (57); M Coyne for B Hannon (57).

Referee: Brendan Rice (Down).

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