Dublin 2-16 Armagh 2-5: Dublin boss Gregory McGonigle hailed the intensity, work-rate and discipline of his players after the Sky Blues easily defeated Armagh on Saturday to book a TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football final clash with Cork.
Dublin face champions Cork on September 27 for the Brendan Martin Cup – and the Capital won’t lack motivation after blowing a ten-point lead in the final quarter of last year’s decider between the counties.
Dublin head to the decider with an impressive performance against Armagh under their belts but still plenty to work on for McGonigle.
They registered 13 wides over the hour but still had more than enough to inflict a second successive semi-final defeat on James Daly’s Armagh.
Dublin had the hard work done in the first half as they defended in numbers and attacked with real purpose.
McGonigle revealed that Dublin had planned to nullify Armagh’s main threats – midfielder and captain Caroline O’Hanlon and ace forward Aimee Mackin.
McGonigle said: “Our intensity and our work-rate was very good, very disciplined.
“Olwen Carey had a serious performance on possibly the player of the year at the minute (Aimee Mackin). Amy Connolly did a serious job on Caroline O’Hanlon around the middle of the field. We’d be happy with how we performed.”
But he insisted: “There are things to work on, obviously we didn’t convert what we had and gave away a few stupid possessions but it’s very easy standing on the sideline or sitting in the stands to make decisions.
“We talked about working hard and that’s the one thing the Dublin girls did in bucketloads.”
Dublin flew from the traps and Armagh had no answers to their power play, with McGonigle revealing the keys to success: “Fast start, fast middle, fast end.
“This team probably got a lot of stick when we were playing in Leinster and questions were asked of the young girls but I have serious belief.
“This is a very young side, still in transition. We started with six of the 15 that played in the All-Ireland last year and that’s a credit to the club structures in Dublin that we’re producing players and we’ve had the benefit of working with the U21 squad also.
“We can see players pushing on – Muireann Ní Scanaill was a county minor last year and had an awesome game at full-back, Olwen Carey was out of minor two years ago so to me, it’s about trusting these young girls to step forward.
“Obviously you have your older heads as well, the likes of Lyndsey Davey who was a great outlet inside and then Noelle Healy got player of the match due to serious industry around the middle of the field. It was a strong team performance.”
Dublin signalled their intent with the opening score of the game after just eight seconds, supplied by Niamh McEvoy.
Within ten minutes, they were five points clear before captain Davey netted in the 12th to open an eight-points advantage.
Armagh were given a glimmer of hope when 2014 Player of the season O’Hanlon netted a 14th minute goal to open the Orchard County’s account.
But they could only manage a point for the remainder of the half, scored by teen sensation Mackin, as Dublin kept their opponents comfortably at arm’s length in front of a large home contingent.
Dublin led by eight points three times in the opening half and Carla Rowe’s fourth point ensured that margin separated the sides at the break, 1-9 to 1-1.
They moved ten points clear with points from Connolly and the excellent Hannah Noonan after the break before Armagh hit three without reply to reduce the gap.
Kelly Mallon scored two of those, the second a consolation score in effect after Noonan did brilliantly to keep out Mackin’s goalbound effort.
As the game petered out in the final ten minutes, Armagh grabbed a consolation goal from Mackin but Dublin’s response was immediate.
Within a minute, Sarah McCaffrey, sister of county footballer Jack, rattled home a brilliant goal for Dublin.
Skipper Davey led by example with a haul of 1-2, with Rowe and player of the match Healy each contributing four points.
Scorers for Dublin:
L Davey 1-2, C Rowe (1f) & N Healy 0-4 each, S McCaffrey 1-0, A Connolly 0-2, S Goldrick, N McEvoy, H Noonan & O Leonard 0-1 each.
Scorers for Armagh:
A Mackin 1-1, C O’Hanlon 1-0, K Mallon & F McKenna 0-2 each.
C Trant; O Carey, M Ní Scanaill, H Noonan; S Furlong, S Finnegan, C Barrett; M Lamb, S Goldrick; N Healy, A Connolly, C Rowe; N McEvoy, L Davey, K Flood.
S McCaffrey for Flood (41), N Collins for Barrett (47), O Leonard for McEvoy (51), L Collins for Lamb (55), N Owens for Noonan (59).
K Daly; M Tennyson, M McGuinness, T McCoy; S Reel, S McCleary, N Marley; C Malone, C O’Hanlon; A Lennon, K Mallon, L McConville; S Marley, F McKenna, A Mackin.
A McCoy for Malone (34), A Henderson for Lennon (36), S Grey for McGuinness (46), Catherine Marley for Mallon (51).
G Carmody (Mayo).
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