Niamh Kelly of Mayo in action against Lauren Magee of Dublin during the TG4 Ladies Football All-Ireland championship semi-final. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile

Mayo come up just short against champions Dublin

Mayo's quest for the TG4 Ladies All-Ireland football championship title ended at Croke Park this afternoon as they were beaten by defending champions Dublin on a scoreline of 1-17 to 2-9.

Most of the damage was done in the first half, at the end of which the Dubs were 1-10 to 2-1 ahead, the two goals just about keeping Mayo in the game.

Michael Moyles' team produced a sterling second-half display and had the chance to really make a game of it when Lisa Cafferky got in behind the Dublin defence midway through the second half. Her shot for goal clipped the upright, however, and rolled away to safety, letting Dublin off the hook. Had it gone it, the deficit would have been reduced to just two points.

Dublin responded with two points in a row and try as they might, Mayo couldn't reel the champions in during the final quarter.

Mayo kept in touch with Dublin in the first half thanks to goals from Sarah Rowe and Rachel Kearns, both after sublime moves, but Kearns' was their only score during a period when Dublin's Olwen Carey was serving 10 minutes in the sin bin, a time in which the Green and Red kicked a few bad wides.

With Carey back on board, Dublin registered two points before the break courtesy of Sinéad Aherne and Lyndsey Davey, while Caoimhe O'Connor hit the side-netting with a shot at goal. Had that gone in, Mayo's chances would have been much reduced for the second period.

The champions had started the half like a train and points from Niamh Hetherton, Hannah Tyrell, Caoimhe O'Connor and Siobhán Killeen had them in the ascendency before Rowe's neat finish to make it a one-point game, 1-0 to 0-4, after eight minutes.

Unperturbed, Dublin responded with a goal of their own two minutes later, finished by O'Connor after Davey gobbled up a misplaced kick-out, and further points flowed from Killeen and Aherne (two) before Kearns registered Mayo's first point on 14 minutes with a free.

Hannah Tyrell emerged as the game's most impressive player in the second half and she opened the scoring a couple of minutes in to put Dublin 1-11 to 2-1 ahead. But Mayo were switched on and harried the Dublin kick-out, winning a lot of possession.

Kearns landed two frees before Tyrell responded, then Shauna Howley (free) and Tyrell swapped scores.

A fine point by Grace Kelly preceded Cafferky's opportunity for goal. Once the goal didn't materialise, it felt as though Mayo's best chance was gone – especially when Aherne and Tyrell scored two-quick fire points for Dublin.

Mayo were never less than game in the closing stages and outscored Dublin by four points to two before the final whistle, but the goal they needed wouldn't come as the champions shut up shop to reach another final, in which they will play the winners of tomorrow's semi-final between Cork and Meath.

Mayo: Laura Brennan; Saoirse Lally, Dayna Finn, Clodagh McManamon; Tamara O'Connor, Roisin Durkin, Kathryn Sullivan; Fiona McHale, Sinead Cafferky; Niamh Kelly, Rachel Kearns (1-5), Lisa Cafferky (0-1); Grace Kelly (0-1), Shauna Howley (0-2), Sarah Rowe (1-0).

Subs used: Ciara Whyte, Ciara Needham, Tara Needham, Maria Reilly, Eilish Ronayne.

Dublin: Ciara Trant; Martha Byrne, Aoife Kane, Leah Caffrey; Olwen Carey, Siobhán McGrath, Orlagh Nolan (0-1); Jennifer Dunne, Lauren McGee; Hannah Tyrell (0-5), Lyndsey Davey (0-1), Caoimhe O'Connor (1-1); Siobhán Killeen (0-3), Niamh Hetherton (0-1), Sinéad Aherne (0-5).

Subs used: Sinéad Goldrick, Niamh McEvoy, Eabha Rutledge, Lucy Collins.

Referee: Séamus Mulvihill (Kerry).

*See Tuesday's print edition for comprehensive match coverage.