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Ladies football: Meath defeat Donegal and Kerry edge Mayo to reach All-Ireland final | GAANews

Meath remain on course for back-to-back titles

Meath and Kerry will face off in the All-Ireland ladies football final, after semi-final victories at Croke Park.

Meath 0-12 Donegal 1-7

Emma Duggan produced late heroics for the second weekend running as defending champions Meath advanced to another final with a thrilling victory over Donegal.

Following her last-gasp point to earn the Royals victory at the expense of Galway last Saturday, the Dunboyne ace kicked three points inside the closing 10 minutes to propel her side towards a decider with Kerry on July 31.

A resolute Donegal – who dethroned Leinster champions Dublin in the last eight – pushed the holders every inch of the way, but their quest for a first senior final will continue into 2023.

TG4 All-Star Geraldine McLaughlin found the target either side of a Stacey Grimes free to give Donegal a slender advantage in a tentative opening.

Although Grimes went on to level matters with her second point, Donegal signaled their intent during the second quarter of a tense affair. A fierce effort by Niamh McLaughlin rattled the woodwork on its way over the bar and the same player also scored a goal from a penalty after veteran attacker Yvonne Bonner was hauled down in the 19th minute.

While Orlagh Lally split the uprights for Meath towards the end of the half, Donegal were three points to the good, 1-3 to 0-3, heading in at the half-time break.

Yet, this lead was whittled down to the bare minimum within 60 seconds of the restart as Vikki Wall and Niamh O’Sullivan posted quickfire scores. Despite losing Máire O’Shaughnessy to the sin-bin, Meath moved three points clear with unanswered efforts from Emma Duggan and Grimes (three).

Donegal finally opened their second-half account with a Yvonne Bonner point in the 43rd minute, however, and midfielder Katie Herron also chipped in with a fine score on the run to set up a nerve-wracking conclusion.

The sides were back level as a result of Bonner’s second point of the half and with Wall being yellow-carded on the stroke of 50 minutes, all the momentum appeared to be with Donegal. Once again, though, Meath brushed off their numerical deficiency to push forward for another hard-earned victory.

After kicking an outstanding point from play, Duggan also knocked over a tricky free edge to them a step closer to another top-tier final. A Karen Guthrie free kept Donegal in touch, but Duggan’s fourth of the day, off a late breakaway move, ensured Meath are still in the hunt for back-to-back Brendan Martin Cups.

Orlagh Lally of Meath in action against Niamh McLaughlin of Donegal

Orlagh Lally of Meath in action against Niamh McLaughlin of Donegal

meath: S Grimes 0-5 (4f), E Duggan 0-4 (1f), O Lally, V Wall, N O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
Donegal: N McLaughlin 1-1 (1-0 pen), Y Bonner, G McLaughlin 0-2 each, K Guthrie (f), K Herron 0-1 each.

meath: M McGuirk; S Ennis, MK Lynch, K Newe; A Leahy, E Troy, A Cleary; M O’Shaughnessy, O Lally; M Thynne, E Duggan, K Nesbitt; V Wall, S Grimes, N O’Sullivan.
Subs: B Lynch for Nesbitt (47), O Byrne for O’Shaughnessy (53), E White for O’Sullivan (58), O Duff for Lynch (60).

Donegal:R McCafferty; E Gallagher, E McGinley, T Kennedy; S Twohig, Nicole McLaughlin, A Boyle Carr; K Herron, Niamh McLaughlin; Y Bonner, N Hegarty, R Rodgers; D Foley, T Hegarty, G McLaughlin.
Subs: K Guthrie for T Hegarty (30), S White for Rodgers (56).

Kerry 4-10 May 0-13

Síofra O’Shea grabbed two goals and Kerry turned on the style against Mayo to book their first final appearance since 2012.

Aishling O’Connell and Paris McCarthy were also among the goals as the Kingdom backed up their impressive quarter-final success over Armagh with a commanding performance. The evergreen Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh was also in outstanding form for the victors, scoring 0-5, all from play.

After Shauna Howley edged Mayo in front with a pointed free, Kerry announced their arrival in the contest when wing-back O’Connell floated a deflected effort beyond the reach of goalkeeper Aisling Tarpey for a sixth-minute goal.

Mayo full-forward Ciara Whyte responded to back-to-back points from Emma Costello and Ní Mhuircheartaigh, before Kerry rattled the net for a second time on 11 minutes, when O’Shea palmed to net off of a Cáit Lynch pass.

Although the confident Munster outfit extended their lead through Niamh Carmody, Mayo came storming into contention with unanswered points by Tara Needham, Lisa Cafferky and Howley (two). Mayo remained in the frame as a result of traded scores between Ní Mhuircheartaigh and Sarah Mulvihill, but Kerry reinforced their authority when O’Shea fired home her second goal of the half in the 21st minute.

Kerry players Louise Galvin, left, and Niamh Carmody celebrate their win

Kerry players Louise Galvin, left, and Niamh Carmody celebrate their win

Further points followed for the Kingdom from Danielle O’Leary and Lynch, and while midfielder Sinead Cafferky posted a fine score for Mayo, it could not prevent their opponents from bringing a convincing 3-6 to 0-8 cushion into the interval.

Three points without reply from Aoife Geraghty, Howley and Needham initially gave Michael Moyles’ Connacht outfit cause for optimism, but a 0-3 haul by Corca Dhuibhne sharpshooter Ní Mhuircheartaigh kept the scoreboard ticking over for the Kingdom.

Despite the determined Geraghty adding her second score of the third quarter, Mayo suffered a further setback when McCarthy added Kerry’s fourth goal on 43 minutes.

Even though this proved to be their final score, the fact Mayo could only muster a point from Sinead Cafferky inside the closing quarter ensured Kerry were not to be denied a spot in the forthcoming showpiece.

Kerry: S O’Shea 2-0, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh 0-5, A O’Connell 1-1, P McCarthy 1-0, E Costello, C Lynch, N Carmody, D O’Leary 0-1 each.
May: S Howley 0-4 (2f), S Cafferky, A Geraghty, T Needham 0-2 each, S Mulvihill, L Cafferky, C Whyte 0-1 each.

Kerry: C Butler; J O’Sullivan, K Cronin, E Lynch; A O’Connell, E Costello, C Murphy; L Scanlon, C Lynch; N Carmody, S O’Shea, A Galvin; P McCarthy, D O’Leary, L Ni Mhuircheartaigh.
Subs: A Dillane for O’Sullivan (30), E McGlynn for McCarthy (45), N Ni Chonchuir for O’Leary (52), N Broderick for Murphy (54), C Evans for Carmody (56).

May: To Tarpey; É Ronayne, R Flynn, D Caldwell; T O’Connor, F McHale, K Sullivan; S Cafferky, A Geraghty; S Howley, S Walsh, S Mulvihill; Cafferky L, Whyte C, Needham T.
Subs: C Nyland for Mulvihill (30), L Wallace for Sullivan (47), S McCarney for Whyte (52), J Mortimer for McHale (56), S El Massry for Ronayne (56).


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