Dublin minors are champions of Leinster once more, following a pulsating battle with their great rivals Meath.Meath had lost out to Dublin last year at the same stage, so they came into Saturday’s game full of determination and confidence, convinced they had what it takes to knock Dublin off their Leinster perch.
From the throw in, Meath came at Dublin, Laura Dempsey at centre forward was running the show for the Royals, Dempsey found full forward Aine Bennett with a beauty of a pass. The pass had carved open the Dublin defence completely; Bennett finished the move by blasting the ball beyond the diving, Nora Harney in the Dublin goal.Both teams exchanged points before hat trick hero, Maria Kenny bagged the first of her three goals in the 5th minute to bring the game all square. Kenny’s goal had lifted Dublin spirits and with renewed confidence Dublin notched up three unanswered points to lead the Royal County by 1-04 to 1-01 at the half way stage of the first half.
Full credit to Meath, as they responded by tagging on three points, so by the 23rd minute Meath were back on level terms with their sky blue counterparts. Meath’s Kate Byrne and Helen Regan where now in ascendancy at midfield both players were delivering qualify ball into their forward line. With renewed possession, Meath in the 29th minute penetrated the Dublindefence again with half forward; Shauna Ennis finishing with style passed the on rushing Harney, to put her side four points up at the break. Half time score Meath 2-06 Dublin 1-05.
Meath restarted as they had finished in total control of the game by the 37th minute they had stretched their lead further to lead Dublin by 2-09 to 1-05.Dublin started to peg their way back into the game with Sarah McCaffrey, Leah Caffrey and Carla Rowe working hard, their running game was magnificent to watch with all three players covering acres of yardage. Dublin’s hard work paid when full forward Supreme Maria Kenny blasted home for the second time in the 54th minute edging Dublin closer and closer to Meath. Two minutes later Kenny once again sent the Dublin fans into raptures when she bagged her third goal with five minutes remaining on the clock, Dublin had clawed their way back to be on level terms suddenly all the momentum was with the metropolitans. With sixty plus minutes played match referee Des McEnery blew his whistle – extra time beckoned!
The pace of the game continued into extra time with both sides exchanging points Dublin however seem to have gained superiority, with points coming from Ciara McGuigan and Molly Lamb. At the half time Dublin had just edged away to lead by one point, Dublin 3-09 to 2-11.
In the second period there was nothing between the teams with both sides adding to their point tally however Dublinwith the assistance of the wind pulled slightly ahead clocking up two points coming from the boot of Shauna Garvinand free from Siobhan Woods.
Dublin did have two further opportunities to stretch their lead but both McGuigan and Woods saw their attempts trail wide.The game was to end in dramatic fashion with Westmeath official McEnery with the game now in injury time awarded a controversial penalty to Meath.All that separated the sides was two points – up stepped Sinead Coyle of Meath a goal would clinch the title for her County.As every Dub in Newbridge held their breath – Coyle’s shot went high pounding back off the cross bar into the welcoming hands of Dublin keeper Nora Harney….
Dublin were champions of Leinster again – "Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision "- Muhammad Ali.Full time score after extra time – 3-11 to 2-12"
Dublin team: Nora Harney, Elinor Doherty, Deirdre Murphy, Claire King, Grainne Barrett, Leah Caffrey, Aoife Nolan, Emma McDonagh (Capt), Sarah McCaffrey, Molly Lamb, Siobhan Woods, Carla Rowe, Kate Dwyer, Maria Kenny, Lauren Ebbs.
Subs normal time: Maria McGrath for Kate Dwyer, Ciara McGuigan for Deirdre Murphy
Subs in Extra time: Margaret Mohan for Claire King, Kim White for Grainne Barrett, Lorna Colgan for Aoife Nolan,Shauna Garvin for Maria Kenny.
Dublin Scorers: Maria Kenny 3-01, Siobhan Woods 0-03 (3F), Lauren Ebbs 0-02, Kate Dwyer 0-02, Molly Lamb,Shauna Garvin, Ciara McGuigan 0-01 each
Meath Team: Ciara Donoghue, Aisling Sheridan, Niamh Lister , Hennelly , Laura Bagnall , Emma Troy , Michelle Peel , Kate Byrne , Helen Regan , Shauna Ennis , Laura Dempsey , Sinead Coyle , Meabh Downey , Áine Bennett , Adrienne McCann ,
Subs Normal Time: Aoife Weston for Adrienne McCann, Leslie Buchanan for Sinead Coyle, Katie Callaghan for Meabh Downey
Subs in Extra time: Sinead Coyle for Áine Bennett, Laura Griffin for Aoife Weston, Áine Bennett for Leslie Buchanan
Meath Scorers: Laura Dempsey 0-4, Sinead Coyle 0-3 (2f), Shauna Ennis 1-0, Áine Bennett 1-0, Aoife Weston 0-2, Helen Regan 0-1, Meabh Downey 0-1, Katie Callaghan 0-1.
Player of the Match: Maria Kenny (Dublin)
Referee: Des McEnery (Westmeath)