HomeFootballDublin show pace and panache to slay Royals in warm-up for Leinster...

Dublin show pace and panache to slay Royals in warm-up for Leinster final


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The umpires were in their white shirts. A young gentleman came to the back of the stand.

“It’s too hot down at the front. If anybody ever complains about the rain again, don’t listen,” he quipped.

There was hardly a flutter from the four flags on the far side of the ground.

But, in the shade, the gentle breeze rustled the pages on the press bench.

It was an afternoon to do one of Sinéad Goldrick’s favourite things – a dip in the Forty Foot.

She is an ambassador for the Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camps this summer.

Their focus will be on diversity and inclusion. There will be a welcome at the table for everyone, no matter what their background or culture.

Every child that attends will want to be Sinéad Goldrick.

Straight from the throw-in, she set off at a blistering pace towards the scoreboard end.

Like the 46A rattling along the Stillorgan dual carriageway.

It almost resulted in one of the quickest goals of all time. And soon after, she went close again.

She struck a powerful shot that could have sawed the Parnell Park crossbar in half.

The ding of the ball hitting the bar could have been heard back in Kilbogget Park.

Dublin looked so fit and so strong. And so determined.

Everybody was playing for the jersey – and for each other.

If a pass or a shot went astray, the Dublin player had the look of someone who was about to write a letter of apology.

And even when the ink had almost dried on the 5-13 to 0-8 win, Dublin were still on it.

Late on, as Meath attacked, Dublin’s left corner-back, Niamh Crowley, was back-peddling as she tussled for possession. She tumbled, but she still came away with the ball.

Not long after, she found herself on the opposition’s end-line. Unfortunately, in the move, she picked up an injury and had to make the short walk to the pavilion for treatment.

These Dubs don’t look at the scoreboard. Caitlin Coffey made a terrific block on Amy O’Leary in front of the stand.

The vibration of the leather connecting with the gloves was clearly audible.

A decent-sized crowd looked on. There was a family decked out in their Dublin jerseys – the father and mother, and the two children.

There was a minute’s silence, and applause, to mark the passing of the late, highly respected and popular Leinster official, Cathal Friel.

It was the last group match in the TG4 Leinster Senior Championship. A sound-check and a dress rehearsal for this Sunday’s Leinster final in Croke Park.

The wide, open spaces of the Jones’s Road will suit Meath. They have strong runners.

They got more of a hand-hold in the second half. Orlaith Mallon is a beautiful striker of the ball.

Seona Lynch is a classical footballer. One of the points of the hour came from the impressive Kerrie Cole.

It began with Meath goalkeeper, Robyn Murray, finding Meadhbh Byrne who set off on a powerful surge. With Kerrie completing the job in fine style.

Yet, for much of the duel, the Royals must have felt they were facing the City Globe Trotters.

Dublin’s industry was relentless. Their defence swept up every crumb.

Orlagh Nolan brought much drive. Lauren Magee returned to the number nine jersey.

Any time she seizes the size four, the Blues are on the front foot.

Nicole Owens was back on the starting blocks. She showed the speed of Jesse.

She lofted in Dublin’s fifth goal, caressing the ball with the outside of her right boot.

There was a man wearing a West Ham shirt. His mind must have drifted back to Trevor Brooking and Upton Park.

On paper, the game was billed as a dead rubber. But on the grass of the Dublin HQ, the Dubs showed the pace and the panache of a Jaguar.

They led at half-time – 4-8 to 0-5. Owens and Carla Rowe had goals within the opening six minutes.

Jennifer Dunne’s low strike brought the third goal before Caoimhe O’Connor added the fourth.

Afterwards, on the pitch, the kids gathered around the captain, Carla Rowe.

She was thanking them for coming, and making them feel ten foot tall.

She said it’s straight back to the practice ground for the Dubs.

“Any day you get a win is a good day,” she remarked. “But we know we still have plenty of learnings to take from the game.

“It’s always beneficial to be playing matches. We’ll prepare well now this week for the Leinster final. When there’s silverware up for grabs, they are the games you want to be involved in.

“It’s brilliant to be playing in Croke Park. I was there for the Leinster rugby match on Saturday.

“There was such a great atmosphere. An attendance of 82,300. That could be us, one day.”

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