BY Michael Gallagher
AT MacHale Park
A victory acquired from hard work rather than flair sent TG4 All-Ireland champions Dublin home from the west with a deserved Lidl National Football League Division 1 victory on Saturday night.
There wasn’t a lot between the sides in the opening half but the more powerful visitors pulled clear after the break and were clear and deserving winners.
The accuracy of Carla Rowe was the difference between the sides in the first half. The Clann Mhuire star kicked four points in the opening period, while Mayo were certainly more wayward at the other end.
The guests might have shook the net too, but goalkeeper Laura Brennan and defender Saoirse Lally rescued Mayo.
The home side were moving well in many sectors, but made little impact in attack thanks mainly to the performance of Dublin full-back Muireann Ní Scanaill.
Mayo had three points on the board by the interval courtesy of a brace from team captain Sinead Cafferky and a Natasha Gaughan free, but they found scores even harder to come by after the break, with Dublin protecting their 0-6 to 0-3 interval lead.
Gaughan added a free soon after the resumption but Dublin completely took over from then on. Their backs were ravenous, while Mayo found it hard to gain a foothold around the middle thanks to Lauren Magee and Jennifer Dunne.
Rowe was kicking points for fun throughout and finished with eight points, but the Dubs couldn’t find a way to create a goal chance thanks to the tenacity of Kathryn Sullivan, Noirin Moran, Saoirse Lally and Dayna Finn.
Kate Sullivan and Hannah O’Neill landed classy points for the leaders before Mayo found their rhythm in the run-in. Lisa Cafferky landed a smart point before Rachel Kearns kicked two late frees, but there was no denying the Metropolitans who were well worth their five-point victory.
Scorers – Dublin: C Rowe 0-8 (6f), J Dunne 0-1, K Sullivan 0-1, R McDonnell 0-1, H O’Neill 0-1. Mayo: N Gaughan 0-2 (2f), R Kearns 0-2 (2f), S Cafferkey 0-2 (1f), L Cafferky 0-1.
DUBLIN: C Trant; M Byrne, M Ní Scanaill, É Rutledge; L Caffrey, N Collins, L Collins; L Magee, J Dunne; R McDonnell, C Rowe, K Sullivan; S Woods, N Sweeney, O Whyte. Subs: C O’Connor for Whyte (25), L McGinley for Collins (28), H O’Neill for Sweeney (35), N Hetherton for McDonnell (43), O Nolan for Woods (52), C McGuigan for Rutledge (55), L Kane for Rowe (56).
MAYO: L Brennan; S Lally, D Finn, N O’Malley; K Sullivan, D Caldwell, C Whyte; Clodagh McManamon, S Cafferky; R Durkin, F Doherty, A Duffy; L Cafferky, R Kearns, N Gaughan. Subs: M Cannon for Duffy (h-t), L Duffy for Doherty (35), N Moran for Clodagh McManamon (38), Ciara McManamon for Caldwell (43), S Golden for Gaughan (48), J Cawley for S Cafferky (55), T O’Connor for Durkin (56), E Brennan for Whyte (58).
Ref – G Chapman (Sligo).