By Cóilín Duffy
Dublin claimed victory over relegated Kerry, but only after a testing encounter, while Donegal kept their hopes of a league semi-final alive, with a comfortable home win over Cork on Saturday in Division 1 of the Lidl Ladies NFL.
No more than five points separated the sides, who were level on five occasions in the opening half, but Dublin done enough to claim a 1-16 to 1-11 win over Kerry and with it confirming top spot in the Division at DCU.
Mick Bohan’s charges were already through to the last-four, but with the final places in the table deciding the semi-final pairings, Dublin were keen to finish top, as they now take on the fourth placed side.
The hosts lost Lucy Collins to an injury early on, but her replacement Sinead Goldrick made a firm impact, scoring her sides only goal of the game on 25 minutes.
Prior to this the sides were level on five occasions, with Kerry taking the lead three times, but Goldrick’s goal was key as Dublin weren’t to trail again for the remainder of the contest.
Sarah Houlihan and Louise Ní Mhuirceartaigh kept Kerry in touch, with the latter scoring her sides goal early in the second half to cut the gap to two points.
But Dublin held out, with former Irish soccer International Siobhan Killeen making her return to the Dublin fold with two points as a substitute, on the way to a five-point win.
Dublin could be facing Donegal in the last-four, after the Ulster side were 4-11 to 2-3 winners over Cork at O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny.
However, it is more than likely Galway who will be Dublin’s opponents in the semi-finals, with the Tribeswomen likely to take victory over Westmeath on Sunday afternoon.
A Galway win would see them level with Donegal on 13 points apiece, but Galway’s better on-field points tally than the O’Donnell County would see the Westerners through.
In Letterkenny this evening, Donegal worked hard to keep their league hopes alive with Yvonne Bonner (nee McMonagle) and Niamh Hegarty as usual the commanders in chief.
Bonner fired a tidy 2-3, while Hegarty bagged the other goals in a game where the hosts were solid throughout.
The bulk of Cork’s tally came in the opening half – the Rebelettes registering 2-2 before the break with Orlagh Farmer and Aine O’Sullivan netting goals inside the opening 20 minutes.
It wasn’t until 30 seconds from the end that Cork would again at to their tally with 39th minute substitute Niamh Murphy on target, but Donegal had firmly inflicted the damage at this stage.