The girls from Loreto Cavan made the trip to Armagh for this Lagan Shield Ulster Final having negotiated a number of tricky fixtures during the group stages, before eventually overcoming a resilient effort by St Catherine’s Killybegs in the semi-final. The final itself started off as a tentative affair with both defences coming to the fore in the opening exchanges. However as both teams settled down into their stride it was the Cavan girls who started to create and take more of the chances. The inside forward line of Claire O’Hanlon, Aoife Callaghan and Ellie Daly were showing well and picked off some nice scores to send Loreto into a 1-03 to 0-00 lead midway through the first half. St Mary’s responded with a number of points of their own to reduce the deficit but were finding the Loreto goalkeeper & full back line of Tara Donlon, Ella Murphy, Sinead Flynn, Ciara Boylan and blood-sub Aoife Coyle in an unforgiving mood as they shut down attack after attack. The turning point in the game came with 10 minutes remaining in the 1st half when after their most consistent spell of possession in the game St Mary’s were awarded a penalty. The Down side blazed their effort wide and from the kick out Loreto went on the attack with some great interplay between Abbie Fee and Eimear Cahill putting their captain Katie Briody into space, she made no mistake finishing to the net in style to increase the Cavan sides lead. The Cavan girls were eager to take advantage of this and both midfielders, Bronwyn Fitzpatrick and Grainne Donohoe decided to get in on the scoring act tapping over points before the end of the half to give Loreto a 2-06 to 0-02 half time lead.
The second half again started with St Mary’s going on the attack but brilliant defensive work by the Loreto half back line of Eve Brady, Ava Shields and Aine McKiernan ensured that Loreto never let the Down side back into the game. The half back line were a constant thorn in the side of the St Mary’s team and produced a phenomenal display of attacking and defending throughout the entire contest, not content with their defensive duties two of the dynamic trio popped up to join the attack early in the second half with Eve Brady and Ava Shields both finishing to the net with the aplomb of seasoned forwards to put Loreto Cavan firmly in the driver’s seat in this game. The Cavan side made a number of changes to the team and the introduction of backs, Edel Brady, Caitlyn Pearse, Ciara Smith and Grainne Daly bolstered the defence and added extra energy to the back division as they proceeded to shut out the Down side for the remainder of the game. Meanwhile the substitutions at the other end of the pitch took over where the starting forwards left off with Grace Brady, Kavina Gaffney and Emily O’Connell working tirelessly to keep the pressure on a bewildered St Mary’s defence, while Mary Kate Gannon, Aislinn Keenaghan and Katie Leddy added a total of 4-02 from play to put a real gloss on a dominant display by the girls from Loreto Cavan.
Loreto College Cavan: Tara Donlon, Ella Murphy, Ciara Boylan, Sinead Flynn, Ava Shields (1-0), Eve Brady (1-0), Aine McKiernan, Bronwyn Fitzpatrick (0-2), Grainne Donohoe (0-2), Eimear Cahill, Katie Briody (1-04), Abbie Fee, Ellie Daly (3-0), Claire O’Hanlon (3-02), Aoife Callaghan (0-01), Aoife Coyle, Edel Brady, Caitlyn Pearse, Grace Brady, Ciara Smith, Aislinn Keenaghan (2-01), Kavina Gaffney, Katie Leddy (1-01), Emily O’Connell, Grainne Daly