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CAVAN…………………….. 1-08




MONAGHAN……………. 0-12






By Daire Walsh






They battled right up until the final whistle, but the Cavan camogie side just missed out on securing the much-coveted Maire Ni Chinneide trophy when they lost to an Eileen McElroy-inspired Monaghan by the narrowest of margins in Donaghmore/Ashbourne on Sunday afternoon.




Things had looked good for Colm McEvoy’s charges when they lead by a point with just two minutes remaining, but the Farney County finished the game the stronger of the two teams to come away with the victory in the end.




Cavan had made three changes for this game from the drawn encounter, with Siobhan Reynolds and Lisa Bennett coming in for Jenny O’Rourke and Carmel McBride, and Aoishe O’Reilly (the goal-scoring hero from the first game) replacing Crosserlough’s Sinead McKenna in the full-forward line.




They also made a number of positional switches, which included moving the dynamic Roisin O’Keeffe onto the edge of the square. This moved certainly paid dividends, as even though Monaghan opened the scoring with points from Karen Boyle and Eileen McElroy, O’Keeffe found the back of the opposition’s net with a superb solo effort on six minutes to give Cavan the lead for the first time in the game.




This was followed almost immediately by a fine score on the left by Portobello’s Brid Boylan, before Monaghan drew the sides level on eleven minutes when midfielder Eleanor McQuaid followed up an Eileen McElroy free with a strike from 40 metres. Cavan did show a good response when O’Keeffe knocked over after a sharp turn on Monaghan’s Angela Kerr, but they would not score again until the very end of the half, as Geraldine Clarke’s side started to get a grip on proceedings around the middle of the field.




Points from Eileen McElroy (2) and another from McQuaid pushed Monaghan into a 0-7 to 1-2 lead on 26 minutes, and although Cavan had a number of opportunities at the end of the half, it took a free from Majella Prior to add to their total.




This left only a point between the teams at the break as it looked like, just as in their previous encounter, that this was going to go right to the wire. Given how much was at stake for both sides in the final 30 minutes of this game, it was no surprise that the beginning of the second period was quite a scrappy affair, and it wasn’t until the 43rd minute that Cavan mustered up their next meaningful opportunity of the tie, when O’Keeffe went agonisingly close to bagging her second goal of the game, only for her kicked shot to go just wide of the post.




O’Keeffe and Boylan also had a couple of good goal chances at the end of the opening half, so it was clear that there were areas in the Monaghan defence that Cavan (who once again were wearing the Westmeath colours of maroon and white) could exploit.




O’Keeffe did find the range just two minutes later though with an equalising point, though Monaghan (appearing in the black and red of Down) regained the lead through substitute Lizzie McConnon on 48 minutes.




Prior and Shauna Finnegan then swapped points, before Cavan took the lead at a vital period courtesy of points from Prior (free) and O’Keeffe, as it looked like the Breffni girls were primed to push on for victory.




Monaghan suddenly found another gear though, and three unanswered scores from the influential Eileen McElroy left Cavan trailing by two points with the game now deep into injury-time. There was still some time for Cavan to try and force the game into extra-time though, with a free from the accurate Prior reducing the margin.




Cavan then had one final chance when Siobhan Maguire from Ballinagh received the ball in space, but her shot dropped short into the arms of grateful Monaghan ‘keeper Roisin McKenna. After such a fine effort from both games, it was heartbreaking for Cavan to lose out so narrowly, but they can take great pride from the way they performed throughout the year, and can look forward to what should be a very competitive Ulster Intermediate Championship fixture against Armagh.






Cavan: Geraldine O’Reilly; Sinead Brady, Niamh Brady, Siobhan Reynolds; Lisa Bennett, Sinead Coyle, Rosie Crowe; Andrea Lynch, Josephine Maguire; Majella Prior (0-4, 4f), Lorraine Day, Brid Boylan (0-1); Aoishe O’Reilly, Roisin O’Keeffe (1-3), Marie Brady




SUBS: Aileen Smith for Maguire (45); Sinead McKenna for M Brady (46); Caroline Larkin for Bennett (52); Maguire for Day (60).




Monaghan: Roisin McKenna; Mary Meehan, Sharon McQuillan, Orla McMeel; Edel Kieran, Angela Kerr, Isobel Kieran; Siobhan McKenna, Eleanor McQuaid (0-2); Karen Boyle (0-1), Helen Hughes, Shauna Finnegan (0-1); Rosita Finnegan, Mary McElroy, Eileen McElroy (0-7, 3f, 1 ’45’).




SUBS: Lizzie McConnon (0-1) for R Finnegan (h/t).




Referee: Mike Sheehan (Cork).

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