Three in a row for Cavan ladies
On a sunny Sunday afternoon the Cavan ladies continued their recent run of wins with a hard fought win over last year’s All-Ireland semi-finalists Armagh in Kingspan Breffni. The victory didn’t come without its cost as for the second week they lost a corner-forward to injury as Roisin O’Keeffe joined Aisling Gilsenan on the injured list.
Cavan entered the game knowing that a win or draw was enough to see them top the table but a heavy defeat and results elsewhere going against them and they could be forced out of the semi-final places.
With the pressure on, Cavan started well with attackers Aishling Sheridan and Laura McVeety splitting the posts either side of an early missed goal chance by the ever dangerous Aimee Mackin for the Orchard County.
Armagh soon found their rhythm and four points without reply from Caroline O’Hanlon, Aoife McCoy, Aimee and Blaithin Mackin saw them race into a two-point lead. The in-form Geraldine Sheridan closed the gap to one but a Mackin free restored Armagh’s lead to two before the water break.
After a couple of earlier misses Laura McVeety found her range with a well-taken point as the busy centre forward began to pull the strings in the half-forward line. Once Aimee Mackin sent over her third Cavan soon drew level thanks to two Roisin O’Keeffe frees, the second of which was awarded for an infraction on the Armagh kick-out.
Eve Lavery edged Armagh ahead as referee Mel Kenny remained consistent with his punishment on kick-outs. Cavan were caught inside the ‘D’ and made pay by Aimee Mackin before she added another from play to leave Armagh three to the good.
The final score of the half came from a Roisin O’Keeffe free as Geraldine Sheridan was held back after rounding her marker leaving Armagh ahead by two at the break.
Cavan started the second half with intent as McVeety broke a tackle and played a super pass to Geraldine Sheridan going through on goal but the referee failed to award the advantage this time, seeing the goal chance lost.
McVeety and Fionnuala McKenna traded points inside five minutes but Cavan were clearly turning the screw. Speedster Sinead Greene played a one-two with Geraldine Sheridan before breaking through on goal to find the net despite Anna Carr’s fine effort to keep the shot out.
With Cavan now in the lead and Monaghan winning well agaisnst Tyrone, Armagh needed to respond to keep their semi-final hopes alive. Blaithin Mackin showed great pace to create a chance but her shot under pressure turned left of the goals and wide.
Aimee Mackin did manage to level the sides with a point but super sub Emma Halton somehow manage to squeeze the ball into the Armagh net from close range in spite of the congestion.
Cavan now leading by three with ten minutes remaining began to push on. Two points from Laura McVeety and one from Aishling Sheridan saw the girls in blue take a deserved six point lead.
Ciara Finnegan and Tiarna Grimes added a point for either side before Cavan were reduced to 14 as Catherine Dolan was shown a yellow card. Two minutes later Sinead Greene joined her in the sin bin as Armagh were award and scored a penalty to ensure a dramatic finish.
Down two players and leading by three, Cavan showed their composure in the six minutes of injury time. Aimee Mackin converted two more frees to bring her total for the day to 1-8 but once Cavan got the ball they managed to force Blaithin Mackin into a foul which saw her sin-binned and allowed Cavan to see out the final seconds playing keep ball.
Cavan: Elaine Walsh; Rachel Doonan, Muireann Smith, Shauna Lynch, Sinead Greene(1-0), Laura Fitzpatrick (capt.), Mona Sheridan, Catherine Dolan, Nesa Byrd; Ciara Finnegan(0-1), Laura McVeety(0-4,2f), Niamh Keenaghan, Geraldine Sheridan(0-1), Aishling Sheridan(0-2), Roisin O’Keeffe(0-3f)
Subs Emma Halton(1-0),
Armagh: Anna Carr, Sarah Marley (capt.), Clodagh McCambridge, Niamh Marley, Eve Lavery(0-1), Laura McConville, Blaithin Mackin(0-1), Tiarna Grimes(0-1), Caroline O’Hanlon(0-1), Niamh Coleman, Fionnuala McKenna,(0-1), Aveen Bellew, Aimee Mackin(1p-8,5f), Aoife McCoy(0-1), Alex Clarke
Subs: Tiarna McVeigh, Aiobhinn Henderson.