Ulster champions!. Photo: Adrian Donohoe.

Cavan U14s claim Ulster ‘A’ title with superb victory over Armagh

Captain Katie Mai Reilly from Knockbride accepted the cup on behalf of her teammates and management

A haul of 2-05 in either half from Cavan U14s helped them claim the top honours in Ulster with a commanding victory over Armagh on Saturday afternoon. As the saying goes ‘goals win matches’ and four goals from Clodagh Clarke, Katie O’Meara and a double from super sub Muireann Daly led Michael Lee’s troops to Ulster glory on their home patch.

Armagh started the brightest with centre forward Clarah Lenahan kicking the opening two scores of the game. However, the home side grew into the contest and dominated the next 20 minutes scoring 2-04 without reply. Kingscourt’s Mia Lynch got Cavan off the mark in the 5th minute with a point from a free before doubling her tally moments later from play. At the other end a crucial dispossession from Ruby Gilmartin on Armagh’s full forward prevented a goal chance. Cavan took the lead for the first time in the 11th minute as corner forward Katie O’Meara opened her account with a point.

Minutes later the Cavan Gaels woman finished off a well worked team move for Cavan to clinch their first goal of the game. Kristina Grigorenko won the ball off the Armagh full forward in the Cavan backline to set the Breffni girls on the attack once again. Wing back for Cavan Kaitlyn Cahill played a long ball into full forward Clodagh Clarke who laid it off to Kate Fegan to set up O’Meara for the Cavan goal.

2 minutes later Cavan got another goal this time finished by Ballyhaise’s Clodagh Clarke after an excellent play from midfielder Ailbhe Kennedy. Armagh went in search of a reply, but Loughran was denied by an excellent block from Lurgan’s Grigorenko who was solid throughout the entire contest.

Ella Sheridan pointed for the final score of the quarter as the water break was called with Cavan leading by 8. The water break appeared to break Cavan’s momentum as the visitors began to put the Cavan backline on the back foot for large periods of time in the second quarter.

Armagh went in search of a much need goal, but corner forward Loughran was again denied this time by an excellent block from full back Cora McDonnell.

Ellie Mae Carr fisted over the bar to break Armagh’s 20-minute drought without a score.

At the other end Clarke got Cavan’s single score of the quarter. Eilidh- Meabh Duffy reduced the deficit to 7 as the Orchard County kept pushing to break the deadlock. Excellent tackles from Grigorenko and captain Katie-Mai Reilly prevented certain goal chances for the visiting side.

Just as the half time whistle approached Armagh did manage to find a way through the tight Cavan defence with the lively Lenahan firing the ball past Cavan goalkeeper Cadhla Moffitt to leave 4 points between the sides at the break.

Cavan introduced two subs at half time with Muireann Daly and Einin Lawton coming on in place of Niamh McCaffrey and Kayley O’Dowd. Similar, to the opening half Armagh started the brightest with a point from Duffy in the opening moments.

Subsequently this was to be their only score of the half as Cavan proved too strong for the visitors. Lurgan duo Grigorenko and O’Donnell were excellent in Cavan’s full back line as was captain Reilly and Kaitlyn Cahill in the half back which left it very difficult for the Armagh forwards to find any opening. While at the other end substitution Muireann Daly was a constant threat running at the Armagh backline.

It took just 6 minutes for Daly to get her first goal after her 20m strike dropped in over the head of Armagh goalkeeper Sally Convery. Cait O’Reilly replaced Ruby Gilmartin who put in an excellent shift in midfield. With 15 minutes on the clock Cavan got their fourth and final goal after Daly reacted quickest to a breaking ball in the square to net for the second time and all but seal the win for Cavan.

Kate Fegan who created the fourth goal got on the scoreboard minutes later stretching Cavan’s lead to 10. Armagh to their credit kept pushing for a reply and found a way through the Cavan backline with Aoife McDonald one on one with goalkeeper Cadhla Moffitt. The excellent shot stopper from Shannon Gaels made not one but two, point blank saves to keep the ball out of her net before Reilly cleared the Cavan lines.

The point of the game came in the 26th minute as hardworking midfielder Ailbhe Kennedy scored an excellent long-range effort to get her name on the scoresheet. Mia Lynch added her third and fourth score either side of substitute Emilia Mussi’s point. Armagh went on one final attack but were again denied by a block from the excellent full back O’Donnell.

Fainche Higgins replaced Cadhla Moffitt as the game approached its finish with Cavan running out 14-point winners and claiming the title after a deserving victory.

Cavan captain Katie Mai Reilly from Knockbride accepted the cup on behalf of her teammates and management team made up of Michael Lee, Sinead Moore, Sarah Murray, Ryan Lee, David Daly and Michael McCann

Cavan: Cadhla Mofitt, Kristina Grigorenko, Cora McDonnell, Elsie Moffitt, Kayleigh O’Dowd, Katie Mai Reilly ©, Kaitlyn Cahill, Ailbhe Kennedy (0-01), Ruby Gilmartin, Niamh McCaffrey, Kate Fegan (0-01), Ella Sheridan (0-01), Mia Lynch (0-04), Clodagh Clarke (1-01), Katie O’Meara (1-01)

Subs: Muireann Daly (2-00) for N. McCaffrey, Einin Lawton for K. O’Dowd, Cait O’Reilly for R. Gilmartin, Emilia Mussi (0-01)for C. Clarke, Fainche Higgins for C. Moffitt

Armagh: Sally Convery, Niamh Farrell, Siofra Doherty, Lily-Marie McAreavey, Elsie Druse, Fiadhna Loughran, Aoibheann Donohue, Ellie Mae Carr (0-01), Eimear McGreary, Alicia Roberts, Clarah Lenahan (1-02), Mia Mullin, Mailiadh Loughran, Aoife McDonald, Eilidh-Meabh Duffy (0-02)

Subs: Chloe Galbraith for M. Mullin

Referee: Chris Morgan