Piaras Ó Mídheach/SPORTSFILE Scoring star: Sinead Aherne.
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'Sinead any day could score 2-4, 2-6, 2-8 - she’s one of the game’s top players'

Dublin captain Sinead Aherne produced a scintillating first-half performance before the posts yesterday.

DUBLIN MANAGER MICK Bohan was well aware that his reigning All-Ireland champions needed to start extremely well to overcome Galway yesterday.

And that they did on their way to booking a fifth successive decider date.

Nicole Owens rattled the net with just five minutes on the clock, and captain fantastic Sinead Aherne added a remarkable 2-4 in a scintillating first-half display.

“We were thrilled,” he told The42 afterwards, referring back to their loss and narrow win against the same opposition in this year’s league campaign.

“In the National League, Galway got a foothold in the game very early against us. We were very aware of the fact if that happened that they’d grow in confidence so we had to make sure that didn’t happen.”

The Clontarf clubman was full of praise for his skippers’ exploits but then again, didn’t get too carried away by their early dominance.

“Sinead, any day could score 2-4, 2-6, 2-8. She’s one of the game’s top players,” he continued.

“We probably left a little behind us in that period as well. There was certainly one (chance) coming into half time, there was goal written all over it and the final pass was a poor decision.

“Look, that’s the stuff you go away and work on. Constantly trying to make better. Obviously they scored a goal. I think they turned us over on a kick-out and it ended up in the back of the net. We’ll go away and look at that.

Mick Bohan Tommy Dickson / INPHO Dublin manager Mick Bohan. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

“But defensively, I thought we were rock solid. Great defensive performance but like everything, it’s a game under your belt. You go away, look at it — what things do you improve on.

“We’re going into the penultimate stage and the showpiece game so we look forward to the preparation for the next three weeks.”

And that mouth-watering All-Ireland final against Cork in Croke Park on Sunday, 16 September. There’s no doubt about it that there’s plenty at stake.

The sides met in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 showpieces and each occasion ended in the narrowest of defeats and heartbreak for the Dubs.

Last year, Cork failed to reach the decider and the Sky Blues finally got their hands on the Brendan Martin Cup. And now, the tables turn as they look to defend their title and Ephie Fitzgerald’s Rebels chase a 12th crown in 14 years.

Noelle Healy, Lauren Magee and Sinead Finnegan celebrate at the final whistle Tommy Dickson / INPHO Dublin players celebrate at the final whistle. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

Maybe it’s the final that everyone wants?

“It may be,” Bohan grins.

“Absolutely. Ultimately, Donegal or Cork: I wouldn’t have actually picked a winner from that. Lots of people would have said the same today with ourselves or Galway, that you wouldn’t have picked a winner but it’ll be a fantastic game.

“Obviously, Cork come with huge history and they’re obviously one of the shining lights of the game. We’d have massive respect for them.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge, we can’t wait.”

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