Late Tyrrell free edges Dublin past provincial rivals
Clondalkin’s Hannah Tyrrell delivered the goods at Pairc Tailteann, Navan on Saturday afternoon as her last-minute pointed free secured a dramatic 1-9 to 1-8 triumph for the Dublin ladies over Meath in Division One B of the LIDL National Football League.
Although both sides had already qualified for the NFL semi-finals, this was a game of significance nonetheless.
In addition to being a precursor to their scheduled clash in this year’s Leinster Championship – which may not be their only showdown in the summer – this was a rematch of last year’s All-Ireland ladies football senior final.
The Royal County caused something of a surprise on that occasion by claiming their first-ever title at the grade, which – by extension – denied Dublin a fifth Brendan Martin Cup title in succession.
Mick Bohan’s Jackies are defending league champions, but with 13 players at their disposal for the closing seven minutes of the contest, they had it all to do to avoid another defeat against their provincial rivals.
Yet the visitors dug deep to keep themselves on level terms and Tyrrell displayed nerves of steel to slot over a 25-metre place-kick from the last passage of a gripping affair.
Following a tentative opening to the action, this game truly caught fire during the second quarter. Tyrrell (who now plays her club football with Na Fianna in Glasnevin) was one of six players to get their names on the scoresheet, her effort coming from play in the 27th-minute.
Stacey Grimes registered three successful frees for Meath, but they found themselves a single point adrift (0-6 to 0-5) on home turf at the interval.
The same player levelled matters for Eamon Murray’s charges on the resumption, in advance of the game’s opening goal in the 36th-minute.
After Nicole Owens gathered a Kate Sullivan ball from the right-wing, she quickly laid off to Tyrrell who calmly rolled past All Star goalkeeper Monica McGuirk off her left foot.
Meath were quick to respond with a goal of their own from Emma White, however, and she had a subsequent effort that just cleared the woodwork.
A brace of Tyrrell frees edged Dublin back into the ascendancy, but the loss of Ellen Gribben (red card) and Owens (yellow card) either side of a Grimes equaliser seemingly left them hamstrung as the final whistle approached.
Yet Meath also lost Player of the Year Vikki Wall to the sin-bin and when Tyrrell was fouled in attempting to conjure a winner from open play, she brought her final haul to 1-4 with that coolly-struck free.
In addition to Tyrrell, there were also places in the Jackies starting line-up for Ballinteer St John’s defender Orlagh Nolan and Kate McDaid – sister of Ballyboden St Enda’s and Dublin star Robbie.
Despite initially being selected to start, Lucan Sarsfields netminder Abby Shiels was named on the bench alongside Tammy Quinn Corbally (Thomas Davis) and Natalia Hyland (Ballyboden).