Dublin's Olwen Carey and Lauren Magee face Roisin Leonard. Oisin Keniry/INPHO
blue weekend

History made as Dublin seal third All-Ireland title in-a-row after dogged battle

Sineád Goldrick and Hannah O’Neill scored the all-important goals against Galway front of 56,114 at Croke Park.

Dublin 2-3

Galway 0-4 

JUST FIVE SCORES hit, but it was more than enough to seal Dublin’s three in-a-row and make it a weekend to remember for the capital.

In front of a record-breaking crowd of 56,114 in Croke Park, they beat Galway on a scoreline of 2-3 to 0-4 in a strange All-Ireland final in horrendous conditions.

After their male counterparts sealed a first-ever five-in-a-row at the same venue last night, Mick Bohan’s side wrote their own piece of history, becoming just the third county in ladies football to lift the Brendan Martin Cup on three consecutive occasions (they join illustrious company in Cork and Kerry).

It’s been a remarkable journey under Bohan for the Sky Blues, lifting their first All-Ireland crown since 2010 — and second-ever — after beating Mayo in the 2017, while last year they saw off their great rivals, Cork, in the showpiece.

This three in-a-row comes after three heartbreaking final defeats in-a-row to the Rebels.

And today, goals from Foxrock-Cabinteely duo Sinéad Goldrick and Hannah O’Neill, and points from Player of the Match Lyndsey Davey, captain Sinéad Aherne and second-half substitute Noelle Healy were all they needed to edge Galway, appearing in their first All-Ireland final since 2005.

sinead-aherne Aherne on the ball. Oisin Keniry / INPHO Oisin Keniry / INPHO / INPHO

It was a repeat of the 2004 final, of which Dublin trio Aherne, Davey and Siobhán McGrath are the only survivors.

A first half which threw up just two scores — we waited 22 minutes for the first — it was a defensive operation at both ends with the conditions truly awful. Yet, that can’t be an excuse for some of the mistakes and wides on both parts.

Tim Rabbitt’s Galway started strongest, comfortable as they controlled the game and dominated possession, with their match-ups on Dublin forwards bang on. Nicola Ward tracked Carla Rowe, while Sinéad Burke kept 2018 Player of the Year Aherne quiet.

Olivia Divilly and Louise Ward’s cutting runs caused Dublin problems as the Tribe settled best and matched the champions physically, but they’ll regret their early misses. By half time, they had hit five wides, dropped two short, and saw one come off the post.

Likewise, Aherne uncharacteristically missed a free, Niamh McEvoy saw an early effort come off the post at the Hill 16 end and another Carla Rowe effort went wayward.

An outstanding Olwen Carey interception lifted the Jackies when they needed it most, and Goldrick showed her quality at both ends of the pitch as she registered the game’s first score — and a goal at that — in the 22nd minute.

After leading her defence impeccably from the get-go, the Foxrock-Cabinteely star left three Galway players reeling as she won the ball out of nowhere and cooly lobbed Lisa Murphy for the highly sought-after first score of the game.

Two minutes later, Sarah Conneally stepped up with a monstrous point to inspire Galway, and it looked like the scores might start coming as half-time approached, the rain still pelting down and the ground getting greasier.

The attendance announcement at half time lifted the crowd anyway, 56,114 the number popping up on the screen to massive cheers around HQ. (A quick look at the last few years — 2014: 27,374, 2015: 31,083, 2016: 34,445, 2017: 46,286, 2018: 50,141.)

The second half started a lot brighter, Davey splitting the posts with Dublin’s first attack with things shaping up to be a bit more exciting.

a-view-of-the-record-attendance-at-todays-game A view of the record attendance. Oisin Keniry / INPHO Oisin Keniry / INPHO / INPHO

But no, another error-strewn period ensued as conditions worsened. Another Dublin free went wide, as the woodwork was hit yet again. Both teams happy to throw the ball around, and patient in their build-up, they were waiting for the perfect opportunity to pounce.

Galway were then dealt a big blow as Mairead Seoighe was sin-binned for a clash with her opposing number one, Ciara Trant, running in on goal.

And that aforementioned perfect opportunity soon came to the Sky Blues. The 39th minute saw O’Neill palm the ball into the Canal End goal, after colossal work from Davey in the build-up.

But yet again, Galway responded immediately. This time, a Tracey Leonard free keeping them in touch as the scoreboard went 2-1 to 0-2 entering the final third of the match. Shortly after, the captain raised another white flag from a free.

Her cousin, Roisin, followed suit with a point off the crossbar, but it would take something special to catch a Dublin team with so much experience on their side.

And as the clock ran down, Aherne and Healy added two more invaluable points for the Dubs; Healy clenching her fists in celebration as the final score of the game sailed over the bar and brought the curtain down on the fierce battle.

Scorers for Dublin: Sinéad Goldrick (1-0), Hannah O’Neill (1-0), Lyndsey Davey, Sinéad Aherne and Noelle Healy (0-1 each). 

Scorers for Galway: Tracey Leonard (0-2, 2f), Sarah Conneally and Roisin Leonard (0-1 each).


1. Ciara Trant (St Brigids)

2. Éabha Rutledge (Kilmacud Crokes)
3. Niamh Collins (Foxrock Cabinteely)
4. Martha Byrne (Cuala)

5. Aoife Kane (Kilmacud Crokes)
6. Sinéad Goldrick (Foxrock Cabinteely)
7. Olwen Carey (Thomas Davis)

8. Lauren Magee (Kilmacud Crokes)
9. Siobhán McGrath (Thomas Davis)

10. Carla Rowe (Clann Mhuire)
11. Niamh McEvoy (St Sylvesters)
12. Lyndsey Davey (Skerries Harps)

13. Sinéad Aherne (St Sylvesters) – captain
24. Hannah O’Neill (Foxrock Cabinteely)
15. Jennifer Dunne (Cuala)


14. Noelle Healy (Mourneabbey, Cork) for Jennifer Dunne (HT)
19. Caoimhe O’Connor (Clontarf) for Niamh McEvoy (42)
22. Oonagh Whyte (Clann Mhuire) for Hannah O’Neill (51)
18. Rachel Ruddy (Ballyboden St Enda’s) for Aoife Kane (64)
23. Niamh Hetherton (Clontarf) for Carla Rowe (60).


1. Lisa Murphy (Kilkerrin Clonberne)

2. Sinéad Burke (Ballyboden St Enda’s)
3. Nicola Ward Kilkerrin (Clonberne)
4. Sarah Lynch (Naomh Anna Leitir Móir)

5. Orla Murphy (Claregalway)
6. Barbara Hannon (Dunmore McHales)
7. Shauna Molloy (St Fursey’s)

8. Louise Ward (Kilkerrin Clonberne)
9. Áine McDonagh (Moycullen)

10. Olivia Divilly (Kilkerrin Clonberne)
11. Megan Glynn (Claregalway)
12. Mairéad Seoighe (Clonbur)

13. Tracey Leonard (Corofin) — captain
14. Sarah Conneally (Dunmore McHales)
15. Roisín Leonard (Corofin)


19. Fabienne Cooney (Claregalway) for Sarah Conneally (42)
22. Charlotte Cooney (Claregalway) for Orla Murphy (46)
20. Leanne Coen (Corofin) for Mairead Seoighe (48)
29. Andrea Trill (Claregalway) for Roisin Leonard (66)
18. Mairead Coyne (Gráinne Mhaols) for Barbara Hannon (67)

Referee: Brendan Rice (Down).

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