Tipperary claim deserved draw against All-Ireland champions Dublin in exciting Lidl league opener
LIDL NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 1
By Daire Walsh
The outstanding Aishling Moloney kicked a point deep into stoppage-time to earn Tipperary a share of the spoils with Dublin at the end of a tense Lidl NFL Division 1 clash at Ballyboden St Enda’s.
An All-Star nominee in 2019, Moloney was a thorn in the side of the Metropolitans’ defence throughout. Carla Rowe led by example for Mick Bohan’s charges and her impressive haul of 0-5 looked set to squeeze the 2018 champions over the line.
However, Moloney displayed nerves of steel to curl a 65th-minute effort between the posts – bringing her final tally to 1-6 in the process.
Starting with just six of the team that defeated Galway in last September’s TG4 All-Ireland senior football final, Dublin hit the ground running through Oonagh Whyte and Carla Rowe points – the latter coming from a close-range free.
The Tipperary line-up feature nine of the side that overcame Meath in last year’s All-Ireland Intermediate decider, and although they took their time to settle, the Premier county exploded into life at the end of the opening quarter.
After converting an earlier free, Moloney brilliantly gathered a long delivery on the edge of the square and coolly fired beyond the reach of Sky Blues goalkeeper Ciara Trant.
This suddenly propelled Tipperary into the driving seat and with Dublin struggling to make headway in attack, additional points courtesy of Caitlin Kennedy and Moloney (two) gave Shane Ronayne’s visitors a deserved 1-4 to 0-2 cushion at the break.
Dublin were much-improved on the resumption, when Rowe and the returning Leah Caffrey posted unanswered scores for the hosts.
Though the ever-dangerous Moloney found the target from long-range, Tipperary lost captain Samantha Lambert to the sin-bin on 38 minutes. In her absence, Dublin registered three points without reply via the boots of Rowe (two) and Caffrey.
Moloney kicked a routine free in advance of Lambert’s return, but the Dublin challenge gathered significant pace moving into the closing-quarter. Despite losing Lauren Magee to a yellow-card, the capital outfit looked set to prevail when Rowe (free), Kate Sullivan and the roaming Niamh Collins raised white flags in quick succession.
That was until Moloney’s dramatic intervention ensured both sides had to be content with a point apiece from this compelling encounter.
Scorers – Dublin: C Rowe 0-5 (4f), L Caffrey 0-2, N Collins, O Whyte, K Sullivan 0-1 each. Tipperary: A Moloney 1-6 (0-3f), C Kennedy 0-1.
Dublin: C Trant; M Byrne, M Ní Scanaill, L McGinley; L Magee, N Collins, L Caffrey; J Dunne, L Collins; L Kane, C Rowe, S McCaffrey; O Whyte, N Sweeney, R McDonnell. Subs: K Sullivan for Kane (25), S Woods for McCaffrey (h-t), C O’Connor for Sweeney (h-t), A Kane for Dunne (53), C McGuigan for McGinley (65).
Tipperary: L Fitzpatrick; E Moore, L Spillane, E Cronin; B Condon, S Lambert, M Curley; R Daly, L Dillon; N Hayes, E Morrissey, C Kennedy; R Daly, A Moloney, A Fennessy. Subs: K Davey for Fennessy (35), C Condon for Winston (38), S McKevitt for Dillon (44), M Heffernan for Daly (44).
Ref – Jonathan Murphy (Carlow).