Emma Duggan's phenomenal second half display drags Meath into All-Ireland final 2 months ago

Emma Duggan's phenomenal second half display drags Meath into All-Ireland final

Meath 0-12 Donegal 0-10

The All-Ireland champions are set to defend their title against Kerry after they beat Donegal in a tense, cagey and dramatic semi-final.

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The Ulster side came out swinging in the first half and a cracking Niamh McLaughlin penalty saw them go in at half time in control, and in the lead.

Meath finally woke up in the second half and stormed back in front, thanks particularly to the 19-year-old phenomena that is Niamh Duggan.

The centre half forward controlled everything, she was leading from the front, demanding every ball, sprinting back to get involved with the defence and above all else, her game intelligence was incredible.

When they needed to slow the game down it was her who dropped the ball and called their goalkeeper to come up and take the free, and when they burst through in the attack, it was her sprinting ahead of the ball to get onto the end of it.

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"Its unbelievable, I suppose what's most pleasing is that we dug ourselves out of a hole. We went in at half time and we weren't happy with the energy we brought, and to get ourselves back in the game in five minutes and the control the game as we did, towards the end - few heart attacks probably in the crowd again, but sure that's what we do best," said Duggan as she collected her Player of the Match award.

"I think the most consistent thing all year is the support we've had in the crowd, they drive us on when we need them most, especially in the last few minutes there.

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"And with two sin bins, when you hear the roar, it gives you another set of legs really."

The two wonder-scores that she kicked in the end proved to be the difference, and when Donegal threw the kitchen sink at the Leinster side, frantically chasing down their defence and forcing them into corners, the champions were cool under pressure.

With Duggan commanding every direction, waving her arm to where the ball should go next, pointing to where her teammates need to be, Meath managed the game.

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It was all the more impressive when Vikki Wall received a yellow card and ten minutes only left on the clock, and last year's holders could easily have collapsed.

But well ahead of her years, Duggan and CO dragged their team over the line, and back into another All-Ireland final.


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