Niamh McEvoy impresses as Dublin secure comeback win over Mayo
Defending champions move to the top of Division 1 after Croke Park success
Róisín Flynn of Mayo attempts to block Hannah O’Neill of Dublin during the Lidl Ladies NFL Division match at Croke Park. Photograph: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Dublin 1-17 Mayo 3-9
Defending champions Dublin moved to the summit of the Lidl National Football League Division One table with an impressive comeback victory over Mayo at Croke Park.
St Sylvester’s forward Niamh McEvoy ended the contest with an impressive personal haul of 1-5 and was instrumental in steering the Metropolitans towards a second consecutive top-flight triumph.
Trailing by six points (3-2 to 1-2) after 20 minutes, Mick Bohan’s charges slowly reeled in their Connacht rivals.
After the westerners stormed in front with unanswered points from the Kelly sisters – Niamh and Grace – full forward Rachel Kearns rattled Ciara Trant’s net with a powerful strike.
Dublin’s initial response to this setback was immediate – Niamh McEvoy’s unstoppable effort raised a green flag at the opposite end – but they suffered a further blow on 11 minutes. Despite hitting the post off a close-range free, Kearns bagged her second goal off the ensuing rebound.
The early introductions of Siobhán Killeen and Jennifer Dunne – Player of the Year Sinéad Aherne followed in the second half – added an extra spark to the Dublin play, and they helped to reduce their deficit to 3-4 to 1-6 at the interval.
Nicole Owens and McEvoy split the posts on the resumption to bring the gap down to two, but they breathed a sigh of relief when Kearns’s 38th-minute penalty blazed over the crossbar.
Although full back Niamh Collins was sin-binned as a result of the latter incident, Dublin outscored their opponents 0-4 to 0-1 in her absence. McEvoy (two), Carla Rowe and Killeen found the range in this period, while Clodagh McManamon mustered a solitary Mayo score.
The returning Aherne and McEvoy edged Dublin in front for the first time with consecutive frees, before Doherty’s two-point salvo levelled matters moving into the home stretch.
Dublin never panicked though, and McEvoy and Davey raised white flags in the dying moments to see off the Mayo challenge.
DUBLIN: C Trant; M Byrne, N Collins, K Fitzgibbon; A Kane, S McGrath, L Magee; L Collins, O Carey; H O’Neill (0-1), S Woods, N Owens (0-2); O Whyte, L Davey (0-3, one free), N McEvoy (1-5, three frees).
Subs: R Ruddy for Fitzgibbon (22 mins), S Killeen (0-2) for Whyte (23), J Dunne (0-2) for Collins (26), C Rowe (0-1) for Woods (h/t), S Aherne (0-1, free) for O’Neill (46), S Fagan for Kane (47).
MAYO: L Brennan; N O’Malley, R Flynn, D Caldwell; K Sullivan, Ciara McManamon, N Moran; Clodagh McManamon (0-1), D Finn; N Kelly (0-1), S Cafferkey, E Needham; G Kelly (0-3, two frees), R Kearns (2-2, 0-1 pen), F Doherty (1-2).
Subs: R Durkin for Needham (26 mins), C Whyte for Clodagh McManamon (48), N Gaughan for G Kelly (48), G Kelly for Moran (52), M Reilly for Kearns (58), A Duffy for Ciara McManamon (59).
Referee: B Rice (Down).