The girls from Loreto College Cavan made the short trip to the home of championship football in Ulster, St Tiernach’s park Clones on Wednesday to contest the Ulster U-14 “B” final against a much fancied Our Lady’s Castleblaney team. When the sides met earlier in the group stages of the competition only a single point separated the teams with the Loreto girls coming out on top after a fortunate last minute goal. This set the scene for an enticing encounter to see which side had made the most progress since their previous meeting and who could deal best with the pressures of the big occasion.
Conditions were perfect for football on a balmy summer morning and the Loreto girls got off to the best possible start registering an impressive 1-02 in the first 5 minutes of the game without reply with joint captains Niamh Keenaghan & Muireann Cusack both raising the white flag and midfielder Elaine Brady getting at the end of a well worked move to finish to the net. Castleblaney however were going to be no push over and stated their intentions with 4 well taken points from distance to leave the minimum between the teams half way through the opening half. The Cavan outfit looked to be under some serious pressure and were finding the going tough against a well drilled Our Ladys team when somewhat against the run of play they scored 1-1 inside a few frentic minutes to which Our Ladys replied with a brace of points before being pick pocketed again for 1-01 with 5 minutes of the 1st half remaining. Our Ladys showed great resilience to come back with a goal and 2 points of their own before the interval to leave the halftime score 3-04 to 1-06 in favour of the Loreto girls and setting up a cracking final 30 minutes of football.
Loreto Cavan made 2 changes at half time looking to freshen things up with Katelyn Kelly and Darcy Beck entering the fray for Abbie Sexton and Ava Tynan who both put in a huge effort in the first half. However it was the Monaghan side who came out with all guns blazing at the start of the second half and hit over four points in the first 10 minutes to again leave the minimum between the sides. The alarm bells began to ring for the Cavan girls and they quickly awoke out of their slumber to realise what was at stake in this game and their response was befitting of the character of the team. They began to take control of the game in the middle third of the field with Lauren McVeety, Caitlin Duke, Kate & Ciara Kellegher and Niamh Brady all making telling contributions. They hit Our Ladys for an impressive 2-06 in the last 20 minutes of the game with a reply of only a single point coming from the Monaghan girls. The score of the game coming in this period from Loreto’s Aine Reilly as she finished to the net following some excellent work by substitute Aoife Lynch. The final score line of 5-11 to 1-11 in favour of the Cavan team didn’t do justice to how close this game really was and only a superb defensive team effort from Loreto in the last quarter spearheaded by Katie Galligan, Muireann Smith, Aine Dennehy and Aine Brady prevented Our Ladys from taking something more from the game.
Loreto Cavan Squad: Katie Galligan, Aine Dennehy, Muireann Smith, Aine Brady, Lauren McVeety, Ciara Kellegher, Niamh Brady, Caitlin Duke, Elaine Brady(2-01), Ava Tynan, Aine Reilly(1-02), Kate Kellegher(0-01), Abbie Sexton, Muireann Cusack(0-05), Niamh Keenaghan(2-01), Megan Smith, Darcey Beck, Amy Fitzpatrick, Martha Reilly, Holly Hughes, Ciara Flynn, Christina Dennehy, Katie Briody, Saoirse Smith, Sorcha Finan, Aoife Lynch, Megan Leonard, Aoife Galligan, Fiona McKiernan, Katelyn Kelly(0-01), Amy Gardiner.
Loreto College Cavan 5-11 Our Ladys Castleblaney 1-11