Ladies retain intermediate status

Ladies All-Ireland IFC relegation play-off

Cavan 3-11

Antrim 0-7

Cavan ladies have held on to their Intermediate status for next year after a comfortable win over Antrim in the relegation play-off. The new-look side saved their best performance of the year for this encounter as they scored 3-11, with 2-9 coming from open play.

Up to Saturday’s game Cavan ladies had scored 6-53 in 10 games and conceded 16-101. The win over Antrim turned the form book on its head with their average losing margin of over seven points being flipped to a 13-point win in the most important game of the year.

Ruth Gilsenan’s performance in midfield was crucial to the victory as the Mountnugent/Munterconnaught star forced numerous turnovers and made clever decisions with the ball in hand. Captain Áine Brady lead from the full-back line while Zara Fay, Amy Wharton and Sinéad Levingstone took the game to Antrim from the start.

Caitlin Taggart opened the scoring with a free for Antrim but points from Zara Fay, Aoife Brady and an Amy Wharton free soon pushed Cavan into a two-point lead. Theresa Mellon pulled one back for Antrim before a beautiful ling range left footed point by Deirbhile McCaffrey restored Cavan’s two-point advantage.

Theresa Mellon added a second point to her tally just after the rain began to fall and before Cavan stepped up a gear. Ally Cahill was denied a goal but Amy Wharton battled hard to salvage a point giving Cavan the chance to press the Antrim kick-out. After winning the ball Wharton placed it into the path of Sinéad Levingstone who broke through and blasted to the corner of the net.

Cavan set up zonally again and this time Shauna Murphy gift the kick-out to Levingstone and she bagged a second goal. Zara Fay finished off the first half scoring with a point two minutes into injury-time to give Cavan a deserved ten-point lead at the break.

Amy Wharton continued her excellent first half form with a point two minutes into the second half. Cavan were awarded a penalty which saw Antrim wing-back Grace Shannon yellow carded and Wharton hit the roof of the net after four second-half minutes.

Cavan playing against the wind for the second half just controlled the game for the second half by never letting Antrim get the run of scores they needed to turn the tide. Aoife Montague’s point was matched by one from Levingstone with 13 minutes played in the second half.

After Aoife Taggart sent over a free Evelyn Baugh denied Caoimhe Finucane a goal and sub Áine Smith raised a white flag for Cavan. Christina Charters scrambled well to volley the ball over the ball for Cavan’s last point eight minutes from the end.

Antrim finished with the final two points of the game from Mellon and Aoife Taggart before Áine Smith was shown a yellow card three minutes from the end. Cavan defended their goal well to run out with a well-earned win to end the year.

Cavan: Evelyn Baugh, Niamh Briody, Áine Smith, Niamh Smith, Kaioni Tuipulotu, Róisín Dolan, Christina Charters(0-1), Ally Cahill(0-1), Ruth Gilsenan, Zara Fay(0-2), Ciara Brady, Amy Wharton(1p-3,1f), Deirbhile McCaffrey(0-1), Aoife Brady, Sinéad Livingstone(2-1)

Subs: Aine Smith(0-1) for Z Fay, Niamh McCorry for A Wharton, Lucy Crowe for N Smith, Rebecca McLaoughlin for R Gilsenan, Hannah Gilsenan for R Dolan

Antrim: Shauna Murphy, Áine Kelly, Gemma McGroarty, Duana Coleman, Grace Shannon, Ciara Brown, Hanna Donaghy, Emma Ferran, Caoimhe Finucane, Aoife Montague(0-1), Caitlin Taggart(0-1f), Theresa Mellon(0-3), Cliodhna Logan, Aoife Taggart(0-2f), Eimile Rogers Duffy. Subs used: Ellie Murphy, Blaithin NicCathail.