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‘It’s great to see her back. It’s a big boost for us’ – Mick Bohan hails return of Sinead Goldrick

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On the DART to Bray, it was standing room only. The cricketers were warming up in Sandymount. Wearing the Kildare colours.

It was an ‘Anyone there for the choc-ices’ type of day.

Sun-cream and a peaked cap were the requirements in the main stand in Parnell Park.

The birds were singing in Donnycarney. The cherry blossoms were blooming.

Not quite the summer yet, but there was the sweet scent of the TG4 Leinster Senior Ladies Football Championship.

There was a time when there was no Leinster Championship. Its return has brightened the landscape.

Dublin have had some comfortable title wins in the competition, but Mick Bohan treasures every one.

He can well remember the days when Dublin were some distance away from getting their hands on the silver.

Anne O’Mahony could recall those times too. She was in the audience, as was the former Dub, Sorcha Furlong, now a leading pundit on TG4.

Kildare were all in white. Their centre half-back, Ruth Sargent, wore white boots.

She jumped over the moon to make one superb catch in the first half.

Before the off, Diane O’Hora had a ball under her arm, and the stop-watch at the ready.

When playing for Mayo, she got the late goal that beat Dublin in the 2003 All-Ireland final. It was Dublin’s first final.

Diane has done a fine job with Kildare. Intermediate champions and now the Lidl Division 2 winners.

They brought a good following to the capital. Lauren Murtagh played in the number 5 jersey.

Her Dad is the great jockey, Johnny Murtagh.

At the end of the game, a man in a white baseball cap skipped down the steps.

“Is that Johnny Murtagh?” asked a voice. “He certainly moves like him,” came the reply.

A woman wore a hat that wouldn’t look out of place for Ladies’ Day at The Curragh.

John Caffrey took his seat. Two Dublin flags were draped over the wall at the church end.

Paul McLoughlin called out the Dublin team. It had a formidable look.

They attacked the Killester end. Malachy Keena was operating the scoreboard. Within five minutes, it told that Dublin had 1-3 in the bank.

As they kept ticking on the scores, a mother with a pram behind the goal was gently rocking her baby to sleep.

Dublin remained wide awake. They looked fit and focused. They had so much energy. And bags of experience.

Their use of the ball was superb. With hand and foot. Crisp, precise deliveries. Via Swift Post.

Kildare hardly got the chance to draw breath. And when they did manage to attack, they had to contend with the brilliant defending of Niamh Donlon and Martha Byrne.

At half-time, Kildare trailed by 2-10 to 0-3. When they came out after the break, their mood didn’t improve. Dublin had brought on Sinéad Goldrick. Back from her success with Melbourne in the AFWL.

With her very first touch, she set up Orlagh Nolan for a point.

“It’s great to see her back. It’s a big boost for us,” remarked Mick Bohan.

Before the close, Sinéad received a red card. But it was never going to change the game’s complexion.

The All-Ireland champions won by 4-15 to 2-4. “We are very pleased,” stated the Dublin boss.

“We made a sharp start. We did well on the Kildare kick-outs, and we managed to get a wide spread of scores.

“We haven’t had a game since the League, so it was beneficial to get the competitive match practice.

“It’s always useful to have a game to focus on when you go back training, learning from it and trying to be better the next day.

“We have Laois away next and then Meath at home. It was a solid start to the Championship for us. In front of a decent crowd and in the sunshine.”

During the interval, the pitch was covered with kids. On the sound of the buzzer, they raced back to their seats. Dreaming of being the next Carla Rowe.

Carla, the skipper of the Blues, hit 1-4. The afternoon’s top-scorer was Kildare’s Niamh Farrelly.

She comes from Frank Brady country – Kill, where Ruby Walsh and Shamrock Rovers’ manager, Stephen Bradley, are neighbours.

Niamh also converted one majestic free. As delicious as a Mr Kipling French Fancy.

The hosts would have had a couple of more in the oven only for the excellent goalkeeping of Mary Hulgraine.

She made splendid stops from Kate Sullivan and Nolan in the opening period. And after it, she rose above the clouds to make a catch that Cliodhna O’Connor would have been proud of.

Even Cliodhna couldn’t have prevented the Dublin goals. Caoimhe O’Connor and Sullivan shook the net before the Jaffa cakes, with the captain, plus a Nolan penalty, enhancing the tally.

With the contest deep in stoppage time, the Dublin manager was still urging his side on.

Following the final whistle, there were a cluster of Dublin players doing running drills.

The Dubs were still putting in the hard yards as the faithful went home for tea.

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