With a water-free pitch secured, both teams made the trip to Crettyard on Saturday afternoon. A dominant first half display from the visitors proved more than enough to quell any scare that Laois’ much improved second half performance may have given the eventual winners, Dublin, as they ran out comfortable winners.
A foul in the square in the opening minute left referee, Stephen McNulty, with no choice but to award a penalty to Laois, and despite Ciara Burke’s best efforts from the resulting penalty her shot was saved by Dublin goalkeeper, Orla McDonald, leaving the sides still level.
Dublin got their opening score from a goal by Eabha Rutledge just two minutes later, which was followed up by a point from full forward, Kate Fitzgibbon. Laois replied with their opening score just three minutes later, with a well-taken point from midfielder Meaghan Dunne.
Dublin reclaimed control with a point from corner-forward Amy Conroy, and then a sizzling run from her corner-forward partner, Emma Colgan, resulted in an excellent save from Laois goalkeeper Leona Delaney to keep the score at 1-2 to 0-1. With fifteen minutes elapsed, Meaghan Dunne’s great run resulted with her blistering shot trail just wide.
In a five minute spell, and despite the resilient effort from the Laois defence, Dublin managed to notch up 1-4, with Eabha Rutledge accountable for 1-1. Not letting that dampen their spirits, Ciara Burke replied instantly with a well-taken point to keep the Laois side of the scoreboard ticking over.
Dublin launched another scoring rampage and within five minutes they added another six points to the referee’s scorecard, three of which came from Niamh Ryan to leave a bleak half time score of 3-13 to 0-2, in favour of Dublin.
The second half proved to be much more of a contest, with both sides matching score for score. Dublin were first out of the blocks once again and added six points, but Laois upped their game and matched them each time with Shauna Redmond, Anna Fitzgibbon, Emma Murphy, Ciara Burke and Meaghan Dunne all getting in on the scoring for Laois.
Dublin appeared to put the final nail in the coffin with twenty minutes gone in the second half as they claimed their fourth goal, which completed Eabha Rutledge’s hat-trick. Laois were awarded two penalties in the closing stages, but one was expertly saved while the other blazed over the crossbar. Yet, Laois still found some fight late on and added four points through Shannon Costello (3), Caoimhe Simms and Anna Fitzgibbon.
SCORERS - Dublin: Eabha Rutledge 3-1, Kate Murphy 1-5, Niamh Ryan 0-8 (3f), Emma Colgan and Kate Fitzgibbon 0-3 each, Amy Conroy 0-1; Laois: Shannon Costello 0-3 (0-1 pen), Ciara Burke, Meaghan Dunne and Anna Fitzgibbon 0-2 each, Shauna Redmond (f), Caoimhe Simms and Emma Murphy 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: Orla McDonald; Aoife Curran, Katie Murray, Lauren Magee; Danielle Pugh, Doireann Mullany, Stacey Flood; Ruth Shaw, Fiona Tuite; Niamh Ryan, Eabha Rutledge, Kate Murphy; Emma Colgan, Kate Fitzgibbon, Amy Conroy.
LAOIS: Leona Delaney (St Josephs); Amy Loughman (Sarsfield), Fiona Kelly (Park Ratheniska), Niamh Smith (Crettyard); Sharon Kelly (Crettyard), Rachel Rafter (Park Ratheniska), Fiona Dooley (Portlaoise); Ciara Burke (Sarsfield), Meaghan Dunne (Sarsfields); Shauna Redmond (The Heath), Caoimhe Simms (Crettyard), Libby Waldron (St Conleths); Emma Murphy (St Conleth’s), Shannon Costello (St Conleth’s), Anna Fitzgibbon (Portlaoise).