Deadly Dublin await Cork ladies footballers, if they get past Galway

CORK now know who they will face in the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football final if they get the better of Galway next Sunday.

As expected the reigning champions, Dublin, were too good for Armagh in their semi-final at Breffini Park on Saturday as they bid to make it four titles in-a-row.

The champions won by 3-13 to 3-8 and needed all their experience to get the better of the Ulster side. But semi-finals are all about winning and nothing else matters and whether it's Cork or Galway face them on December 20 the champions will start as firm favourites to retain their title.

Carla Rowe and Player of the Game Lyndsey Davey were key players in their win and ones that will have to be watched closely in the final.

The returning Owens, who has recovered from a cruciate injury, claimed an early goal for Dublin, while Aimee Mackin scored two goals for her side.

Three minutes in a strong run from Davey was added to by Noelle Healy, which saw Owens palm to the net to open the scoring.

Straight away Dublin added a free from Sinéad Aherne, but it would prove the Dublin captain’s only score, as she limped off with a hamstring injury.

Dublin continued their good start though, and after an Aimee Mackin free got Armagh up and running, Owens laid on an assist for Rowe, and she found the net to give her side a 2-2 to 0-1 advantage in the eighth minute.

It was the dream start for Mick Bohan’s side, but they were facing a team galvanised by their convincing wins over Tyrone and Mayo in the group stages. A free from Kelly Mallon settled Armagh before Aimee Mackin was hauled down by Lauren Magee inside the square and Mackin found the bottom corner of Ciara Trant’s net with the penalty kick.

The excellent Armagh defence forced a turnover and Shauna Grey launched a counter-attack, which led to Aoife McCoy blasting past Trant to close the gap to 2-5 to 2-4.

A stunning Blaithin Mackin long-range point and a Mallon free saw Armagh lead for the first time in the 29th minute, but Healy’s third point of the half just before the hooter meant the teams were level at 2-6 to 2-6 at the interval.

Dublin called upon Niamh McEvoy at the interval to boost their attack, and she made a big impact in that second half, but it was Davey who kicked her side into the lead after the break.

An Aimee Mackin free levelled maters soon after, but a foul by Clodagh McCambridge on McEvoy earned Dublin a penalty, and Rowe converted to the bottom corner. McCambridge also saw yellow for the incident as Dublin moved a goal clear.

Rowe and Davey added a point each to stretch Dublin’s lead to five, but 12 minutes from time Aimee Mackin scored her second goal of the game.

But further points from Rowe and substitute Kate Sullivan saw them ease their way into the final in three weeks’ time.

So now it's over to Cork and Galway next week to see who will have to opportunity to dethrone the defending champions.

Scorers for Dublin: C Rowe 2-4 (1-0 pen, 0-2 f), N Healy 0-3, N Owens 1-0, L Davey 0-2, S McCaffrey, S Aherne (f), S Killeen, K Sullivan 0-1 each.

Armagh: A Mackin 2-4 (1-0 pen, 0-2 f), A McCoy 1-0, K Mallon 0-2 f, C Marley, B Mackin 0-1 each.

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