By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Dublincame good in the second half to secure their first Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues Division 3 title against a Roscommon side that just fell short for the second consecutive season.
The Rossies can take some inspiration from Dublin however, who lost three finals in succession from 2013 to 2015 after claiming Division 4 honours, and were beaten in last year’s semi-final before finally getting over the line this time around at Coralstown Kinnegad.
The teams had met in the Institute of Technology grounds in Blanchardstown in the middle of February, when Dublin prevailed by seven points to commence a campaign that has remained unblemished since.
Both sides have progressed since then though and while Dublin got off to a strong start in this, it was Roscommon who had the better of the opening period overall and led at the change of ends by 0-5 to 0-3.
A neat point from play in the first minute by Laoise Quinn got proceedings under way. Caragh Dawson added to Dublin’s tally four minutes later but Niamh Watson’s score settled Roscommon down and they were more than a match for the Metropolitans for the remainder of the half.
Minor star Shauna Fallon brought the sides level from a free and though Aoife Bugler restored Dublin’s advantage, it was momentary, as Roscommon shot the next three points to establish that two-point interval advantage.
Fallon equalised for the second time with a good score from play before the experienced Kelley Hopkins found the target from a brace of frees and it was the crew managed by Noel Finn and Noel Murphy that held the upper hand.
Their counterpart Shane Plowman and his mentors earned their corn during the break however and as well as making a change in personnel, with the introduction of Gráinne Power for Eimear O’Riordan, their instructions clearly had an impact as Dublin re-emerged with a significant increase in intensity.
They were level within two minutes, thanks to dead-eye shooting from Quinn and Dawson and though the scoring rate dropped, it was the Sky Blues that found it easier to hit the mark.
A pair from Quinn pulled them clear and though Fallon responded, Quinn and Róisin Drohan made put a goal between them.
Again, Fallon pointed for Roscommon but they only managed two scores in the latter period, while Dublin had a wider range of potential suppliers, particularly from play.
Plowman’s charges finished with a flourish as Dawson, Bugler (45) and Drohan plit the posts to ensure that it was their captain Emer Keenan that would be collecting the silverware.
SCORERS FOR DUBLIN: L Quinn 0-5(4fs); C Dawson 0-3; A Bugler (1 45), R Drohan 0-2 each
SCORERS FOR ROSCOMMON: S Fallon 0-4(2fs); K Hopkins 0-2(fs); N Watson 0-1
DUBLIN: A Spillane, C Buchannan, L Walsh, E O’Flynn, E Barron, D Johnstone, G Free, E O’Riordan, R Drohan, R Baker, A Bugler, C Dawson, L Quinn, E Keenan, S Nolan. Subs: G Power for O’Riordan (ht), N Gleeson for Walsh (43), A Walsh for Baker (52)
ROSCOMMON: C Connaughton, E McNally, E Lennon, M Tiernan, S Spillane, E Daly, J Beattie, R Fitzmaurice, L Fleming, N Watson, K Hopkins, R Brennan, S Fallon, F Connell, L Kenny. Sub: J Healy for Connell (11), C Whyte Lennon for Kenny (31), R Dolan for Lennon (43)
REFEREE: A O’Brien (Wexford)