‘We have set a real high standard for ourselves’ - Jackies face Cork in All-Ireland semi-final

DUBLIN manager Mick Bohan is relishing the opportunity of sending his players out against arch-rivals Cork in the TG4 All-Ireland ladies football semi-finals.

The champions proved far too strong for Kerry at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park in Tullamore two weeks as they took another step towards retaining their crown with a double score win.

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Siobhan McGrath will have a key role to play for Dublin and (right) Dublin manager Mick Bohan

“I didn’t get involved in this to be not excited, I love those days,” said manager Mick Bohan.

“We have set a real high standard for ourselves as a group. We look forward to reaching that one.

“Cork were excellent two weeks ago. They looked very, very slick. A huge scoreline, so they are certainly the ones in the driving seat. That is the challenge.”

Two goals from Sinéad Aherne and one apiece from Niamh McEvoy, Carla Rowe and Niamh Hetherton was enough to help the Jackies see off Kerry in their last match.

The reigning eight-time Leinster champions led by 2-3 to 1-4 at half-time, having played against the breeze, and built on their lead emphatically in the final quarter to set up a fascinating rematch of last year’s All-Ireland final at Croke Park on Sunday.

Dublin were far from perfect against Kerry in the first half but Rowe found the net to give them a 1-2 to 0-1 lead in the eighth minute. When McEvoy scored their second goal it looked as though they would push on.

But Kerry had fought hard to secure their quarter-final status and got back into the game. Fresh off their two-point win over Westmeath they were battle-hardened and Houlihan’s 27th-minute goal dragged them back into the game.

Dublin were just two points in front at half-time but Aherne struck in the 32nd minute as the champions rapidly hit 1-3 after the restart.

O’Keeffe came on to score 1-1 for Kerry, but Dublin flexed their muscles once Aherne bagged her second goal and Bohan unloaded his bench.

“The finishing group did a really good job,” added Bohan.

“But in the big games you may not have those opportunities coming if you coughed them up as easy as we did in the first half.

“It is really important that we get ourselves to another level in the next few weeks.”

Ciara Trant will be a key player for the Dubs in goal, while Thomas Davis’ Olwen Carey and Siobhan McGrath will have key roles to play.

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