Late point breaks Antrim hearts

LGFA Ulster Minor Platinum Final

Antrim 1-8 Cavan 1-9

Antrim finally secumbed to Cavan in a blood sweat and tears encounter in Crossmaglen between two excellent sides. Antrim will feel that the game was there for the taking but Cavan kicked the deciding point late in the game to break Antrim hearts.

It was Antrtim who made the early running, despite playing into the breeze and edged into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after 13 minutes. Rachael Mulholland got Antrim off to a good start with a point in the first minute with Laura Agnew adding a second in the 4th minute and another with 13 minutes gone.

Catherine Ahearne replied for the Cavan girls but when Maria O’Neill got through for an Antrim goal at the end of the opening quarter it seemed to be going the Saffron’s way.

Significantly the Saffron didn’t score in the second quarter with Abbi Connor firing to the Antrim net in the 20th minute and the Breffni Girls came strong to add points from Catherine Ahearne, Ellyanne Madden, Ava McCaul and Abbi Connor, the last two coming in time added on at the end of the opening half to leave it 1-5 to 1-3 in favour of Cavan at the break.

Antrim battled hard to close the gap at the start of the second half with Carla McKenna pointing a free to close the gap to the minimum but Cavan replied through Ava McCaul and Abbi Connor to extend their lead to three with only three minutes of the second half gone.

The scores dried up at this stage as both defences dominated but points from Maria O’Neill and Alyssa Davidson at the end of the third quarter brought Antrim right back into contention and they were looking the more likely winners at this stage.

A couple of decisions went against the Saffrons at this stage and they were adamant that Maria O’Neill should have had a close range free after being clattered as she broke through on goal but instead the Moneyglass girl was penalised.

They continued to press however and a point from Ciara Maguire drew them level with ten minutes remaining but Cavan broke forward after being under the cosh for a spell and Ava McCaul edged them ahead once more with 54 minutes gone.

Both sides were giving it everything with no quarter asked or given and Ciara Maguire looked to have sent the game into extra time when she pointed for the Saffrons with 59 minutes on the clock but Cavan created one last opportunity from the resulting kick out and Catherine Ahearne became the Breffni hero when she sent over the winner.

Disappointment for an Antrim team who have been excellent throughout the season with Cavan the only side to have beaten them this season and the excellent work being done by the Antrim management is sure to pay dividends for Antrim Ladies football in the not too distant future.

The Antrim management were gracious in defeat and wish the Cavan girls all the best on their All Ireland journey come July.

Antrim: 1 Emily McCoy, 2 Saoirse McErlain, 3 Niamh Ritchie, 4 Sarah O’Neill, 5 Broghan Crossin, 6 Aileen McDonnell, 7 Carla McKenna, 8 Ana MulHolland, 9 Maria O’Neill, 10 Laura Agnew, 11 Blaithin Ni Cathail, 12 Alyssa Davidson, 13 Aoife Kelly, 14 Suibhne Gibney, 15 Ciara Maguire, 17 Aibhe Kane, 18 Aine Kelly, 19 Raichael Mulholland, 21 Cora Leonard, 22 Aoibhin Cosgrove, 23 Robyn Murray, 24 Erin Duffin, 25 Tiernagh Ellie, 26 Sarah Fyfe, 27 Aisling Mulholland, 28 Caimhe Finucane, 29 Gaby Monaghan

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