By Daragh Small at Dr Hyde Park
Noelle Healy scored 1-2 as reigning champions Dublin advanced to quarter-finals of the TG4 Ladies Football Championship with a perfect record after victory over Mayo in their Group 4 decider.
Dr Hyde Park played host to a repeat of last year’s final where 46,286 were in attendance at Croke Park on September 24.
On this occasion, the damp conditions made for a difficult first half and Dublin were 1-5 to 0-4 ahead after Clodagh McManamon’s own goal.
Mayo fought back in the second half and Fiona Doherty cancelled out Healy’s early strike. But Nicolle Owens secured victory for Dublin.
Dublin captain Sinéad Aherne won the toss and she opted to play with the wind and rain at Dublin’s backs in the opening half.
Noelle Healy scored inside the first minute but Mayo equalised through Sarah Rowe moments later. It was an inspired score and she added another brilliant effort in the fifth minute to reduce arrears to 0-3 to 0-2.
The slippery underfoot conditions were causing havoc but Dublin kept their composure with Aherne on target twice as they raced into an early lead.
The Dublin corner-forward scored her third point in the 11th minute after Niamh Kelly levelled proceedings briefly. But Dublin took a 0-5 to 0-3 lead when Nicole Owens evaded a number of defenders and scored a great point.
Rowe converted a Mayo free however in the 26th minute Aherne’s shot was blocked by Mayo goalkeeper Sorcha Murphy and centre back McManamon bundled the ball into her own net.
Dublin held that 1-5 to 0-4 lead into half-time but they were hit for two quick points at the start of the second half, when Rowe and Kelly scored.
Healy’s vital goal arrived in the 33rd minute and that gave Dublin a 2-5 to 0-6 lead but Doherty hit back with a Mayo goal three minutes later.
Carla Rowe had a goal disallowed for a square ball and Mayo drew level through Kelly in the 42nd minute. But once Owens scored Dublin’s third goal in the 51st minute there was no way back for Mayo.
Sarah Rowe’s yellow card in the 19th minute of the second half was a devastating blow too.
Scorers – Dublin: N Healy 1-2, S Aherne 0-5 (0-3f), N Owens 1-1, L Davey 0-2, S Goldrick 0-1, C McManamon 1-0 (own goal).
Mayo: S Rowe 0-4 (0-1f), F Doherty 1-0, G Kelly 0-3 (0-2f), N Kelly 0-1.
Dublin – C Trant; M Byrne, L Caffrey, D Murphy; S Goldrick, N Collins, O Carey; S McGrath, L Magee; L Davey, N McEvoy, C Rowe; N Owens, N Healy, S Aherne.
Subs: J Dunne for Magee (half-time), O Whyte for McEvoy (45), H O’Neill for Rowe (47), L Collins for McGrath (56), A Kane for Owens (60).
Mayo – S Murphy; E Lowther, R O’Malley, D Caldwell; R Kearns, C McManamon, K Sullivan; N Moran, T O’Connor; S Mulvihill, F Doherty, S Cafferkey; N Kelly, S Rowe, G Kelly.
Subs: R Flynn for Moran (39), E Needham for O’Connor (48), S Ludden for Mulvihill (51), F McManamon for Doherty (54), L Ryder for Caldwell (58).
Ref – Maggie Farrelly (Cavan).