Dublin v Offaly

Offaly 1-13 Dublin 2-9

Dublin turned over after the interval 5 points to the good and playing with composure and no little ability.  But for 10 minutes or so after the restart, the side made more mistakes in defence and attack in that spell than in the rest of the match.  Players in possession were hooked, wrong options were taken and chances to tag on some confidence boosting scores vanished.

In return Offaly took full advantage and players like Michaela Morkan began to exert an influence on the game.  A point by Siobhan Flannery began their best spell in the 33rd minute.  Michaela Morkan reduced the deficit to a goal with her first point before Elaine Dermody notched her 7th white flag when she pointed a 45 in the 37th minute.  Dublin were still winning some possession thanks largely to the likes of Laura Twomey and Catriona Power.  But mistakes were to prove costly and when Offaly were awarded what appeared to be a rather harsh penalty, Elaine Dermody managed to squeeze the ball inside the post - a shot that should really have been stopped.

For the first time Dublin trailed in the game which had began so promisingly.  Inside the first three minutes, two Mairi Moynihan frees had given Dublin an early advantage playing with the breeze.  Elaine Dermody notched Offaly's opening score with a pointed free a minute later before Dublin got a huge lift when Mairi Moynihan's long delivery went all the way to the net.  Excellent points from the industrious Muireann O'Gorman and a mighty effort from over 60m by Louise O'Hara stretched Dublin's lead to 1-5 to 0-2 by the 11th minute.

In defence Gráinne Quinn was simply outstanding and should have won the Player of the Match award and there were superb blocks when danger threatened from the likes of Arlene Cushen and Elaine O'Meara. 

A great catch and delivery by Catriona Power put Aisling Carolan in the clear and she showed wonderful pace and finishing to strike a great point.  Áine Fanning matched this effort with a great point from near the stand to give Dublin a healthy enough lead of 1-7 to 0-3 by the 17th minute.  After a fourth Elaine Dermody point in the 20th minute Dublin hit three wides on the trot from scoreable positions but Amy Murphy stopped the rot with a great score 6 minutes before the end of the half.  Two more Elaine Dermody scores - (Offaly's only scorer in the first half) - kept the midlanders in touch.  They were crucial scores as on balance Dublin were probably worth a few more points for their first half showing. 

After the bad restart, it took Dublin all of 17 minutes to register a score in the second half - a well placed free by Louise O'Hara found Muireann O'Gorman who placed Ali Twomey for a great score to leave just a single point between the sides.  But Dublin struggled to get the ball into the dangerzone on sufficient occasions as Offaly's Sheila Sullivan, Marion Crean, Siobhan Flannery, Orlagh Kirwan and Eimear Mooney came into the game.  Three more unanswered points from Siobhan Flannery, Arlene Watkins and Michaela Morkan seemed to have buried Dublin's hopes.

But to their credit they never gave up the fight and when Mairi Moynihan blasted a free to the net Dublin in the 63rd minute they had one last gasp chance to draw level.  It fell to Sarah Ryan but with the breeze in her face her shot dropped short.

Fiona Hayes, Lizzie McSweeney, Gráinne Quinn, Elaine O'Meara, Arlene Cushen, Louise O'Hara (0-1), Catriona Power, Mairi Moynihan (2-2), Laura Twomey (0-1), Muireann O'Gorman (0-1), Sarah Ryan, Alison Twomey (0-1), Aisling Carolan (0-1), Amy Murphy (0-1), Áine Fanning (0-1).

Subs: Orlaith Durkan, Emma Whyte.

Well done to the entire squad and management Denis Murphy, Ann Colgan, Brian Lawlor and physio Declan Monaghan.  Solid progress is being made and it has been Dublin's best senior year in over two decades.

Referee: Alan Lagrue (Kildare)

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