by John Brennan
at MacHale Park
Dublin made it four wins from four outings in Division 1 of the 2018 Lidl National League this evening.
The Sky Blues had a brace of goals from full-forward Oonagh Whyte as they defeated Mayo in front of a big crowd at Elvery's MacHale Park in Castlebar, in what was a repeat of last year's TG4 All-Ireland senior final.
Whyte's double proved crucial for Mick Bohan's outfit, although they were lucky to be only to be one adrift at the break with Mayo dominating the opening stanza.
A rather fortuitous goal from Whyte in the ninth minute gave Dublin something to cling onto at the break, with Mayo pressing forward at every opportunity. Had Mayo not wasted several opportunities it could have been a different ball game.
In the end, Dublin grinded it out with the likes of Aherne and player of the match Noelle Healy finding their feet.
Aherne and Sarah Rowe traded early points, before Sinead Cafferky nailed a stunning point for Peter Leahy's troops.
Healy responded for Dublin, but a moment if indecision in the Mayo full-back line gifted Dublin a goal as Oonagh Whyte palmed home after a Sinead Aherne free dropped short.
From that point onwards, Mayo started to move through the gears, with scores from Grace Kelly, Sarah Rowe and Sinead Cafferky leaving the sides deadlocked for the third time.
Healy and Rowe traded further points, but a late flurry of excellent scores from Rowe and Cafferky nudged Mayo back into the ascendancy. A handful of wides halted their progress somewhat, with Sinead Aherne reducing the gap to a single point at the break.
Within a minute of the restart Dublin were back on level terms with Sinead Aherne rifling over a beauty, after great approach work by Healy. Mayo were struggling to get going again, but they did manage to squeeze ahead in the 39thminute thanks to an excellent effort from substitute Sarah Mulvihill. Prior to that Dublin lost Martha Byrne after a late body check on Sarah Rowe. However, the tide was turning in Dublin's favour even with the numerical disadvantage.
Aherne and Healy pushed Dublin back into the ascendancy, and they were full value for that lead. Niamh McEvoy added another and they were starting to pull away ever so slightly. Mayo ended a barren spell without a score, with Niamh Kelly on target. However, the decisive second goal arrived in the 57th minute thanks to a clinical strike from Whyte, after receiving a pop pass from Lyndsey Davey.
Mayo pushed hard to wrestle something from the game, with a brace of late frees from Grace Kelly giving them some hope. However, in the end Dublin managed to close this one out with another win on the road.
Dublin: C Trant; M Byrne, K Murray, K Fitzgibbon; L Caffrey, L Magee, N McEvoy (0-1); O Carey, S McGrath; A Kane, L Davey, C Rowe; N Healy (0-3), O Whyte (2-0), S Aherne (0-4, 3f).
Subs Used: D Murphy for K Fitzgibbon (24 mins), E Flanagan for N McEvoy (46 mins), R McDonnell for L Davey (49 mins), J Dunne for S McGrath (54 mins), D Lawless for O Whyte (58 mins), L McGinley for K Murray (60 mins), E Rutledge for A Kane (63 mins)
Mayo: E Murphy; E Ronayne, N Moran, S Ludden; M Corbett, S Tierney, D Hughes; C McManamon, A Gilroy; S Cafferky (0-3), F McHale, F Doherty; N Kelly (0-1), S Rowe (0-4, 3f), G Kelly (0-3, 2f).
Subs Used: S Mulvihill (0-1) for F Doherty (25 mins), R Flynn for N Moran (36 mins), R Kearns for S Mulvihill (44 mins), A Dowling for S Rowe (46 mins), O Conlon for M Corbett (57 mins), T O'Connor for A Gilroy (63 mins).
Referee: M Farrelly (Cavan)