Donegal Ladies went down fighting against a very fit Dublin side in Longford in the quarter-final of the championship.
Donegal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-7
Dublin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-13
Dublin had a lot of wides, but Donegal really put it up to them and after the Dubs went ahead in the second half, the Tir Chonaill girls came back to leave the result in doubt until the final whistle.
Donegal had to be very pleased with their first half display, especially their defence, who gave the Dublin attack very little room. Kelly Wilson, Deirdre Foley and Ciara Hegarty made three great blocks to deny Dublin goal attempts.
Up front Katy Herron was very direct, winning a number of frees and Karen Guthrie was clinical, just missing one chance as she hit three of Donegal's first half total of 1-4.
The other Donegal point was a great individual effort from Amber Barrett, coming on 26 minutes as she rounded her opponent soccer style before taking possession and firing over with her left boot.
The big score of the opening half was the Donegal goal on 21 minutes. Up to that it had been point for point with Sinead Aherne looking sharp for Dublin.
A Dublin attack was broken up and when Donegal attacked quickly, Roisin Friel found space to make the transition. Her long ball in found Amber Barrett, who tried to hook over a point from close to the end line. The ball dropped short but Yvonne McMonagle was in to contest and bravely get the touch and the ball went agonisingly slow over the line.
Dublin 'keeper Grant came forward to try her luck ala Stephen Cluxton but was well wide from a good chance.
Half-time: Donegal 1-4,
Donegal introduced Geraldine McLaughlin for the second half, fresh from arriving home from the US, but it was Dublin who began to exert pressure on the Donegal defence.
Dublin took the lead in the 41st minute when Sinead Aherne hit their goal to leave them 1-9 to 1-6 ahead, but they found it difficult to build on that.
Donegal kept at it and a goal from Geraldine McLaughlin brought them back in the contest, just a point adrift with eight minutes left, 1-11 to 2-7.
But Dublin kicked on and they added a couple of points while Donegal went looking for the goal that would have got them extra time but it didn't come.
The fitness of the Dublin team was the difference in the second half and Donegal can thank Aoife McColgan for two great second half saves. Katy Herron and the Hegartys and Roisin Friel were excellent for Donegal, as were the entire defence. Dublin also had a big wide count, 16 to Donegal's six.
Donegal: Aoife McColgan; Teresa Doherty, Katy Herron (0-1), Kelly Wilson; Theresa McCafferty, Ciara Hegarty, Deirdre Foley; Grainne Houston, Karen Guthrie (0-4,4f); Roisin Friel, Niamh Hegarty, Kaneshia McKinney; Eilish Ward, Yvonne McMonagle (1-1,0-1f), Amber Barrett (0-1). Subs., Geraldine McLaughlin (1-0) and Niamh McLaughlin for Kaneshia McKinney and Eilish Ward, both ht; Paul McGrory for Friel 56
Dublin: C Grant; O Carey, D Murphy, L Caffrey; S Goldrick, S Finnegan, N Collins; L Magee, S Furlong; N Healy, N Owens (0-2), C Rowe (0-3); N McEvoy (0-2), S Aherne (1-6), L Davey (0-1). Subs., S Woods (0-1) for Owens 33; M Lambe for Furlong 42; C Ruddy for Collins 50; L Collins for Magee 56; M Ni Scannail for McEvoy 59
Referee: G Chapman