Dublin v Kilkenny

Dublin 3-14  Kilkenny 0-6  

It took Dublin the best part of 40 minutes to put some daylight between themselves and the Noresiders at Páirc de Búrca, headquarters of Kilmacud Crokes.  But in truth Dublin were the better side from the outset.  They won most of the battles and their strength and pace plus a super strong bench eventually took its toll on Kilkenny as Dublin hit 3-5 in the closing 20 minutes. 

Their cause was helped by the superb accuracy from placed balls and overall industry of Cliodhna Nicoletti who pointed two super frees into the slight breeze both from 45m with one of the efforts almost on the sideline.

Kilkenny replied with a fine point by midfielder Sarah Tobin in the 8 th minute but a neat point by corner forward Nicola Carr put Dublin back two in front.    As the minutes wore on one could see that the Dublin defence were gradually asserting their dominance.   However were it not for some super defending by Megan Carroll, Helen Barr and Lauren Robinson, the Cats might have had some tonic scores.   As it was anything that breached that line was ably dealt with by ‘keeper Maeve Bogan.

The half-back line of Áine Reilly, Abby Farrell and Claire Clifton also shone with some wonderful blocking and crisp stricking.   But despite a plentiful supply Dublin’s attack was guilty of spurning some great chances and over the 60+ minutes would accumulate 14 wides.     They didn’t allow it to upset their rhythm and midfielders Cliodhna Nicoletti and Niamh Heffernan continued to supply good ball. Niamh’s twin sister Aoife was also putting herself about and was narrowly wide on one or two occasions.      Full forward Paris Cheabh was also trying hard and just needed a little bit of luck to turn chances into scores.

Most of the play was in the Kilkenny half of the field and ‘keeper Sarah Hayes made a good save from livewire forward Meighan Rock in the 21 st minute.   Centre back Kate Holohan had moved to wing back in an effort to reduce the influence of Meighan Rock and while succeeding to some degree, Rock would remain a constant danger showing superb fitness and tenacity from start to finish.

Thanks to the accuracy of Cliodhna Nicoletti from placed balls (four in the half) Dublin held a one point advantage 0-4 to 0-3 with 25 minutes gone on the clock. Kilkenny replying through Caoimhe Moran (free) and Sarah Tobin.  

Dublin bit by bit were finding gaps in the Kilkenny defence and after a great block by Helen Barr at one end of the field, the ball found its way from Meighan Rock to Cliodhna Nicoletti who showed she can score from play as well as frees.

The introduction of Chloe O’Connor would have an immediate effect and she pointed with her first touch in the 31 st minute to give Dublin a deserved 0-6 to 0-3 interval lead.

Sinéad Richardson made her appearance for the restart and combined with another second half substitution Ciara Golden, Dublin’s replacements would notch up an impressive 3-4 from play.  

On her home turf, Sarah Fenlon popped over the first score after the restart.   Cliodhna Nicoletti punished Kilkenny indescretions to open a six points gap.   Not a big lead in camogie and this fell to five in the 38 th minute when Caoimhe Moran pointed her second free.   In fact Caoimhe would be her side’s only scorer in the second half.

The goal that was threatening from the opening minutes eventually came when Ciara Golden worked her way through to hit the net in the 42 nd minute.   Game over and Dublin made certain with a scoring blitz in the final quarter.   Sinead Richardson grabbed the next green flag after Ciara Golden turned provider in the 43 rd minute.   Niamh Heffernan was now in full flow and her strength and athleticism in the middle of the park was impressive.   She nailed the next Dublin point in expert style in the 46 th minute.

Kilkenny battled bravely and were rewarded with two pointed frees from Caoimhe Moran.   However Dublin were hungry for more with Caitriona Devlin being at the heart of much of the provision to the inside forwards.   When the ball did hit the final line Chloe O’Connor, Meighan Rock and Sinéad Richardson were in the mood for scores and hit 1-3 between them in the final minutes.

Next up Laois in the final.

Dublin Scorers: Cliodhna Nicoletti (0-6), Sinead Richardson (2-0), Ciara Golden (1-1), Chloe O’Connor (0-3),   Nicola Carr (0-1),   Sarah Fenlon (0-1), Niamh Heffernan (0-1), Meighan Rock (0-1).

Kilkenny Scorers: Caoimhe Moran (0-4), Sarah Tobin (0-2)

Referee: Alan Lagrue

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