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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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The right three-in-a-row for Dublin, experience shines through and a bizarre All-Ireland final

Comment from today’s All-Ireland final showdown between Dublin and Galway.

1) The right three-in-a-row for Dublin

The outpour of emotion and scenes at the final whistle summed it up for this Dublin team. They’ve been through it all.

lauren-magee-noelle-healy-olwen-carey-and-siobhan-mcgrath-celebrate-at-the-final-whistle The moment the final whistle sounded. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The last three Septembers brought jubilant days, master-minded by Mick Bohan, with the icing certainly put on the cake today as they joined illustrious company and etched their name into ladies football three-in-a-row history alongside Cork and Kerry.

But one must not forget the three-in-a-row that came before, the three heartbreaking decider defeats to Cork in 2014, 2015 and 2016. As was referred to many times in the build-up, that’s the three-in-a-row this Dublin group remember. But today surely cancels that out.

The progression this team have made under Bohan has been incredible, and today’s treble just confirms their greatness. A weekend to remember for the capital after their male counterparts went five in-a-row last night.

2) A low-scoring, dogged – and bizarre – battle

An absolutely fierce one at Croke Park today, it wasn’t exactly the All-Ireland final we were anticipating between Dublin and Galway. 2-3 to 0-4 it finished, just nine scores hit between the sides as we waited 22 minutes for the first in torrid conditions.

Cometh the hour, cometh the women, and it was Sinéad Goldrick who popped up for a goal into the Hill 16 End. Though Galway took the game by the scruff of the neck and dominated at early doors, the Foxrock-Cabinteely star brilliantly marshalled her defence and forced the Tribe into rueing several chances. And when hers came up the other end, she took it.

Just one Galway point followed before the break, making it 1-0 to 0-1. As the conditions worsened, so did the scrappiness with mistakes made across the board. But goals win games, and Hannah O’Neill proved just that with her palmed effort ultimately putting the game to bed.

jennifer-dunne-is-tackled-by-barbara-hannon-and-sinead-burke Dublin's Jennifer Dunne is tackled by Barbara Hannon and Sinead Burke of Galway. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

3) Another record-breaking attendance 

56,114. What a turn-out. 

Although today wasn’t exactly the best advertisement for ladies football, the crowd were brilliant throughout with each and every one of the players applauding it afterwards. The rain didn’t dampen the spirits, and when the announcement was made at half time to reveal the number of the day, the excitement well and truly shone through. 

Up and up and up, as the numbers from the past few years show:

2014: 27,3742015: 31,083

2016: 34,445

2017: 46,286

2018: 50,141

2019: 56,114

4) Dublin’s old guard stand up

Just take Lyndsey Davey as the prime example. Player of the Match today, she was one of the Sky Blues’ survivors from 2004 — the last time these counties last clashed in the final. Her work-rate was colossal, her presence in the build-up to that O’Neill goal imperative.

The Skerries Harps star also chipped in with a point, as did captain Sinéad Aherne, another stalwart from 2004. And the third, Siobhán McGrath, as per usual, was nothing short but admirable around the middle.

Another of their most experienced players, Noelle Healy led the way in a second half where the Dubs showed their true character. The 2017 Player of the Year was a late withdrawal from the starting 15, O’Neill her replacement, but when introduced from the bench, Healy came with fire in her belly and helped her side over the line with a nicely-taken point.

5) A great year ends on low for Galway 

sinead-burke-dejected-after-the-game Sinéad Burke dejected. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

They came out with the right approach today, going at Dublin and getting their match-ups spot on. But their lack of experience on the biggest stage was evident. Their early misses definitely came back to haunt them and after losing Mairead Seoighe to the sin-bin, they were definitely chasing the game.

But this rising Galway side are to be admired. The’ve been tagged ‘the nearly team’ so many times before, but showed their true colours this year as they reached a first All-Ireland final since ’05. Their league final appearance will come as a boost too and with so many players coming into their prime, Tim Rabbitt’s team will definitely be back all guns blazing in 2020.

For Dublin, who knows what will happen next. Will some of their older players settle for three, or will they go in search of more? All will be revealed in due course, but one thing’s for sure, they’ll enjoy this one.

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About the author:

Emma Duffy  / Reports from Croke Park

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