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The eye-catching outcome was a third-successive victory and secured a place in the National League Division Two final.

Coleraine girl McGoldrick has been absent through injury since the winning of the All-Ireland Junior championship last September.

Sinead Cassidy, another member of the title-winning team from Ballerin, picked off four points. Oonagh Mullan returned 1-1, Katie McAuley 1-0, and points apiece by Maeve McGoldrick and Clare Scollan.

Meanwhile, Monaghan survived late scary moments before beating Cavan in a photo-finish by one point (3-4 to 3-3) and unexpectedly marched into the final of the Ulster junior championship.

The derby also made history as it was the first official game of any sort to be staged on the new Grattan Park, Inniskeen.

Marie Greenan came up with the home goods, scoring 2-2. Orla Sheeran dominated the midfield as Monaghan ruled the opening session.

Greenan picked off 1-1 in the opening five minutes, and rifled in a second on 15 minutes. The host side turned 2-3 to 0-2, but suddenly players lost their way. Two goals by Lisa McGrahan hauled Cavan back into the battle.

These are exciting times for the progressive Monaghan players. There is the fairytale prospect of a mouth-watering slot in the senior championship as the players await the weekend outcome of Tyrone’s semi-final showdown against Donegal. The provincial decider is set for April 26, and the winner progresses to the top grade.

Elsewhere, it was Belfast Rossa ace Jane Adams to Antrim’s rescue with a fabulous late goal to help beat Laois by two points on a 2-9 to 2-7 result at Ashbourne.

Following two false starts, when matches were frustratingly scrubbed, it was an excellent opener for the Ulster side in Division Three.

Laois rallied from five points adrift to take a two-points lead with the clock running down.

Antrim, who turned 1-7 to 1-5, had the excellent Adams the top scorer on 1-5. Shannon Graham hit 1-3, and Mairead Graham one point. Aoine Mahoney drilled home two goals for Laois, while Louise Mahon plundered four points. Completing the scoring for the Leinster side were Sharon Moynahan and Sarah Ann Fitzgerald.

Antrim skipper Rhona Torney said: “”Jane’s late goal was fantastic. She started her run 50 yards out, breezed passed three Laois players and then slammed the ball to the net. Because of the delay in getting a first game of the new season we were a bit rusty at times.””

Manager Mary Connolly added: “”We look forward to playing Offaly to decide which team goes through to Division Two. After all the delays it was a solid start, with Coleen Doherty outstanding.””


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