Reporting by Marisa Kennedy in Croke Park
It wasn’t the most conventional of All-Ireland finals but reigning champions Dublin did enough to retain the Brendan Martin Cup for the third year in a row.
One day after the men’s side created history in Croke Park, momentum and confidence were high among the supporters in blue at GAA HQ. However, the record-breaking crowd were made to wait for their glory as, remarkably, it was 23 minutes into the first half before the first score came.
After a long and drawn-out build-up prior to throw-in, early nerves were to be expected. Galway kicked three balls wide and dropped another short while the usually cool-headed Dublin were penalised for over-carrying and kicked a ball out on the full. In the tough and greasy conditions, the mistakes kept coming. Dublin kicked threes wides, with Niamh McEvoy also denied by the post, while their packed defence kept Galway’s chances few and far between.
Sinéad Goldrick was highly influential in the first period of the game with her attacking runs from deep but with Mairead Seoighe acting as a sweeper, Dublin struggled to create scoreable chances. Meanwhile, Galway’s patience at the other end of the field resulted in two free attempts for Tracey Leonard but they were just outside her range.
By the time Dublin grabbed the first score of the game in the 23rd minute, the entire stadium let out a sigh of relief. It was the effective Goldrick who found herself in the square to palm in the ball from Hannah O’Neill’s pass, despite the attention of four Galway defenders.
Ag fanacht 23' nóméid i gcomhair scór agus tagann cúl do @dublinladiesg
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) September 15, 2019
Sarah Conneally notched over her side’s first point moments later with an incredible effort but with the conditions worsening, neither team were able to capitalise on their efforts before the break while a number of injuries also hindered proceedings.
The biggest cheer of the day came at half-time when a record-breaking crowd of 56,114 was announced and if buoyed by the news, Dublin began the second period with vigour scoring immediately through Lyndsey Davey.
The highly physical aspect of the game added to the entertainment factor but it also caused a number of stoppages for medical staff to intercede throughout. Despite the interruptions, Dublin managed to maintain their momentum early in the second half as Hannah O’Neill palmed her side’s second goal to the back of the net after good work by substitute Noelle Healy.
The Tribeswomen responded well with two Leonard frees while the lively Megan Glynn continued to cause the Dublin defence numerous problems. The post continued to cause both sides hassle with Galway denied their third pointed free. However, Roisin Leonard was aided by the crossbar moments later to reduce the gap to four points.
That margin was extended once again by Healy when she scored the point of the game after an incredible run from deep inside her own half. In the dying minutes, there was little Dublin could do wrong despite the unrelenting pressure from Galway.
While many will remember the game for its low-scoring result, it was a momentous day for Mick Bohan’s side as they won their fourth-ever All-Ireland title and completed the three-in-a-row in what was a weekend to remember for Dublin fans.
Dublin: Ciara Trant; Éabha Rutledge, Niamh Collins, Martha Byrne; Aoife Kane, Sinead Goldrick (1-0), Olwen Carey; Lauren Magee, Siobhan McGrath; Carla Rowe, Niamh McEvoy, Lyndsey Davey (0-1); Sinead Aherne (0-1), Hannah O’Neill, Jennifer Dunne.
Replacements: Noelle Healy (0-1) for Dunne (HT), Caoimhe O’Connor for McEvoy (43)
Galway: Lisa Murphy; Sinead Burke, Nicola Ward, Sarah Lynch; Orla Murphy, Barbara Hannon, Shauna Molloy; Louise Ward, Áine McDonagh; Olivia Divilly, Megan Glynn, Mairead Seoighe; Tracey Leonard (0-1, 1f), Sarah Conneally (0-1), Róisín Leonard (0-1)
Replacements: Fabienne Cooney for Conneally (43), Charlotte Cooney for Murphy (47)