By Jackie Cahill at Parnell Park
Dunboyne (Meath) 2-13 Kinsale (Cork) 2-12
Dee Blayney’s 54th-minute point proved the winner as Meath’s Dunboyne captured the All-Ireland intermediate ladies club football championship at Parnell Park today.
Dunboyne emerged one-point winners from a pulsating encounter with Cork opponents Kinsale, who had a combined haul of 2-8 from 2016 All-Star Orla Finn and rising young star Sadhbh O’Leary.
The sides were level six times in front of a huge crowd before midfielder Blayney landed a sweet long-range score to secure the silverware for Dunboyne.
Brendan Quinn’s charges held out in a frantic finish and Kinsale, who were beaten junior finalists last year, suffered big-day heartbreak again.
For Dunboyne, this was a second All-Ireland crown in three seasons, following their junior success in 2015, and they had to really grind it out against fancied opponents.
The sides were deadlocked at 2-7 apiece following an enthralling first half.
It was a first half of ebbs and flows as Dunboyne stormed into an early 1-1 to 0-0 lead, before Kinsale hit back with an unanswered 1-4 between the 11th and 14th minutes.
After Aoife Thompson opened the scoring for Dunboyne with an early point, Emma Duggan banged home an eighth minute goal, her effort flying into the net despite Aisling Judge getting fingers on it.
But that was the cue for Kinsale to spark into life and they did, with Finn opening their account before All-Ireland minor medallist O’Leary found the net with a soccer-style goal.
Finn rattled the crossbar with a speculative effort but further points followed from Faye Ahern, O’Leary and Finn to put Kinsale 1-4 to 1-1 clear.
They would hold the lead, and build on it, when Finn crashed home a 22nd minute goal, after taking a pass from Jenny Murphy.
Finn was denied by a fine Alison O’Sullivan save in the 18th minute but her goal had Kinsale five points clear – 2-6 to 1-4 – before Dunboyne rallied superbly to ensure parity at the break.
The goal Dunboyne needed to revive their challenge arrived in the 27th minute and it was an unstoppable effort from player-of-the-match Vikki Wall.
Thompson’s cross-field pass was meant for Duggan but Wall picked up the pieces and steamed through before rifling a drive past Judge.
It was the tonic Dunboyne needed as the impressive Fiona O’Neill hauled them level with a point to set up a mammoth second half.
Goal chances weren’t as plentiful in the second period but the points flowed as both sides slugged it out.
Kinsale never led in the second half as Dunboyne edged two points clear before being pegged back by scores with scores from captain Aoife Keating and Finn (free).
A magnificent Thompson point midway through the second half had Dunboyne in front again but another free levelled matters.
Back came Fiona O’Neill to push Dunboyne ahead but that score was cancelled out by O’Leary, as this titanic final appeared to be destined for a replay.
After Blayney’s massive point, there was still time for Kinsale to reply but they couldn’t muster a winner and Dunboyne sampled that winning feeling again.
Scorers for Dunboyne – E Duggan 1-2, V Wall 1-2 (0-1f), A Thompson 0-4 (2f), F O’Neill 0-3, D Blayney & S Hackett 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kinsale – O Finn 1-5 (0-2f), S O’Leary 1-3, A Keating 0-2, E Murphy & F Ahern 0-1 each.
Dunboyne – A O’Sullivan; R McDermott, E O’Byrne, C Barker; B Hickey, E Doyle, A Moffatt; D Blayney, J Kavanagh; E Duggan, S Melia, S Hackett; F O’Neill, V Wall, A Thompson.
Subs – K Birmingham for McDermott (39), C Keenan for Hickey (40), A Jones for Kavanagh (54).
Kinsale – A Judge; E O’Brien, T McCarthy, G Gould; A Lynch, C O’Callaghan, C Keohane; N Quinn, L Copithorne; E Murphy, J Murphy, F Ahern; A Keating, O Finn, S O’Leary.
Subs – G Buckley for E Murphy (39), J Cronin for Keating (53), D Tyner for Gould (56), A Lee for Copithorne (59).
Referee – B Rice (Down)