Mayo overcame Dublin in a tense encounter at Naomh Mearnog last Sunday to book their place in the league semi-final. Mayo were the quickest to settle and they had two points on the board before Dublin were able to get any sustained possession thanks to good scores from Aileen Gilroy and Niamh Kelly who benefited from great work by Claire Egan. Dublin’s first score came from Lindsey Davey who struck a good point on the run but again Mayo replied well with a great score from corner back Kathryn Sullivan. However Dublin settled thanks to the growing influence of Noelle Healy in the Dublin midfield. Healy scored two points herself as Denise McKenna added two points from frees, and Leah McCaffrey added a fine score after turning over Mayo in their own half back line. However Mayo replied well with the half time whistle fast approaching, scoring the last two points of the half, one from Aileen Gilroy and another from Deirdre Doherty to leave the scores at half time Dublin 0-6 to Mayo’s 0-5.
Mayo came out in the second half with a stiff breeze at their backs and they quickly started to take advantage of the elements as Cora Staunton grabbed her first two scores of the day with both coming from play. The industrious Fiona McHale got the score that her hard work deserved but it could have been more as she collected the ball after a fantastic run and strike off the post from Aileen Gilroy. Cora Staunton added her third score before the decisive moment of the match. Staunton stood over a free some 45 yards out from goal and her lofted free carried in the breeze and was saved by Dublin keeper Cliodhna O’Connor, who failed to see the rebound fall to Niamh Kelly who swept the ball into the Dublin net.
Dublin responded well after the setback and second half substitute Siobhan Woods made her presence felt as she forced Mayo keeper Yvonne Byrne into a good save after a great run. Woods again made a similar run moments later and as she bore down on goal she was fouled for a penalty. Natalia Hyland was given the task of taking the penalty but her powerful drive went over the bar for Dublin’s first score of the half. With time running out a player from either side was sent to the sinbin for the rest of the match as McGrath and Doherty both received yellow cards. The game finished up with a score apiece, one from the boot of Cora Staunton with Noelle Healy getting the last score of the game for Dublin, to leave the final score 1-10 to 0-08 in favour of the visitors.
Mayo now advance to the semi-final stage where they will face Monaghan who were extremely impressive throughout the campaign with a 100 per cent record. Cork and Laois will meet in the other semi final as all four teams search for the first pieces of silverware for the season.