Dublin Ladies made it to their seventh consecutive All-Ireland football final in Kingspan Breffni on Saturday night, but not before a serious tussle with a highly-motivated and talented Armagh team.
This was the first All-Ireland semi-final for the Orchard county in five years, and with only two players - captain Kelly Mallon and Caroline O'Hanlon - over 26, it would seem if they can keep this group together under the present management a breakthrough is achievable.
Their obvious disappointment at the end was so thick you could chew on it. That is a very good sign indeed.
As the weeks roll on and they find they have an Ulster final to be played in the week before Christmas against either Cavan or Monaghan, they will console themselves that they lost to possibly the greatest ladies team to play the game.
Much like their male counterparts, they are coached in a remarkably similar way by their manager, Mick Bohan, who spent years as coach to the senior footballers.
In the early stages it looked as if Armagh could be in serious bother. Dublin were motoring through the lines and seemed to have made clever calls in placing Sinead Goldrick on Aimee Mackin.
Their goal in the third minute could have been plucked from any of the great 'team goals' as they call it in Dublin, something they religiously practice. Aoife Kane played to Lyndsey Davey who transferred onto Noelle Healy. She could have had an effort at goal herself, but instead passed across the face of goal for Nicole Owens to palm home.
They added another couple of points through a Sinead Aherne free and Carla Rowe, before the second major on 10 minutes. From Rowe's point, Davey caught Anna Carr's kickout, it was worked through the hands until Rowe planted her shot to the net.
Ten minutes gone, 2-2 to 0-1 ahead, the game looked already done.
Armagh manager Ronan Murphy made a few changes, notably Mackin moving into the inside line. They didn't do anything much differently in general other than to dig their heels in and pull harder at the rope.
A Mallon free steadied them and Mackin sneaked a lovely point following a great sidestep by the nimble playmaker Aoife McCoy.
But the comeback really got going in earnest when a Mallon '45' landed short, collected by Mackin who was taken down in the penalty area.
She got up herself to slot the ball to the left of Dublin goalkeeper Ciara Trant.
The key to gaining momentum was pressuring the goalkeeper's kickout, something both teams managed in different periods as the Jackies rattled off the next three points.
Armagh once again rallied when the elegant Caroline O'Hanlon produced a lovely bit of vision to thread a fistpass through to McCoy who made no mistake with her finish to the net.
By this stage Dublin were panicking, bringing the combative Lauren Magee back to mark Mackin. Armagh drew level with a long-range effort from Blaithin Mackin and peaked their noses in front with a Mallon free. But a Healy point on the buzzer left the sides level at the break, 2-6 apiece.
Armagh had the taste for it by now, but they needed some things to fall in their favour. They got something when Sinead Aherne had to withdraw with an injury before half-time, the captain of the last three All-Ireland winning Dublin teams pulling up after a run.
Armagh may have been building towards this over the last three months, but Dublin had a slight athletic advantage as the game wore on, Bohan able to introduce more substitutes, three of which made their presence felt on the scoreboard.
The game became a duel between Rowe and Mackin, both of whom scored 2-4, with a penalty in among that tally.
Disaster struck however on 39 minutes. Dublin sub Niamh McEvoy was taken out with a high challenge by Clodagh McCambridge, who was sent to the sin-bin.
With the penalty tucked away by Rowe, Dublin were able to outscore Armagh 1-4 to 0-1 in the 10 minutes they enjoyed a numerical advantage.
Mackin found the net again with a rocket of a shot, but time ran out for them against an experienced Dublin side.
ARMAGH: A Carr; S Marley, C McCambridge, S Grey; T Grimes, B Mackin 0-1, G Ferguson; N Coleman, A Bellew; C Marley 0-1, A McCoy 1-0, A Mackin 2-4, 1-0 Pen, 2f, ; C O'Hanlon, K Mallon 0-2f, E Lavery
Subs: T McVeigh for Ferguson (45m), N Reel for Lavery (55m)
Yellow card: McCambridge (39m)
DUBLIN: C Trant; M Byrne, N Collins, L Caffrey; A Kane, S McGrath, S Goldrick; L Magee, J Dunne; C Rowe 2-4, 1-0 Pen, 2f, L Davey 0-2, S McCaffrey 0-1; S Aherne 0-1f, N Owens 1-0, N Healy 0-3
Subs: S Killeen 0-1 for Aherne (25m), N McEvoy for McCaffrey (HT), K Sullivan 0-1 for Owens (53m), C O'Connor for Dunne (53m), O Nolan for Kane (55m)
Referee: Garryowen McMahon (Mayo)