Ulster Ladies Gold Minor Final
Cavan collected their fourth Ulster Minor title when they outscored a battling Antrim in an excellent Ladies Gold Minor final in Silverbridge on Saturday. The Breffni Girls were excellent throughout but the final result should have been much closer with Antrim missing a number of goal scoring opportunities over the hour.
Caragh Reilly in the Cavan goals pulled off a number of excellent save while the woodwork came to Cavan’s rescue while the Cavan defence were excellent as the Saffron’s fought hard to get back into the game.
Antrim started without their influential midfielder Aoife Kelly and missed their chances while Cavan were inspired by a superb central spine of Sinead Kelly, Sophie Daly, Emma Tolan and Ellie Brady and were better at taking their chances when the opportunities arose.
Cavan dominated the first half and led 2-9 to 0-3, the three Antrim points coming in quick succession from the talented Ciara Maguire through their best spell of the half but Erin Stewart was unlucky not to find the net and they also tested the woodwork. Tolan’ s early goal had set Cavan up while Emma McIntyre and Sarah Clarkes penetrating runs created the space as Livingstone and Galligan tagged on points.
Just when Antrim looked like closing the gap McIntyre crashed home her side’s second goal after good work from Daly and Caoimhe Halpin. Daly, Tolan and Livingstone added points before the break.
Cavan started the second half strongly and extended their lead through Eabha Hayes and Brady points to move fourteen points ahead but Antrim found a response. Their skipper Sarah O’Neill led the way with Clodhna Logan and nippy attacker Leah Stewart came more into the game and as the contest entered the final quarter the Saffrons were right back in it with three points on the bounce.
The gap though was too much however as they battled for every ball and the teams ran their benches too. Talented Sinead Livingstone hit 1-1 for Cavan but in reality they should have been further ahead as Tolan closed in on goal twice but fluffed her chances on both occasions. At the other end though, Logan, who had a fine half, fired to the Breffni net with a good finish to leave it 3-12 to 1-7 with seven minutes left.
Maguire added further Antrim points while the diminutive Stewart was a real thorn in the Cavan side and although the damage was long inflicted Antrim never gave up and deserve real credit for their character and commitment through a much improved half.
The missed chances were to prove costly in the end for them but these girls have a bright future with Sarah O’Neill the player of the match while Maguire top scored for them although on the day there was no doubting about the Cavan quality.
A new look Cavan side but the usual outcome as in recent years for their Manager Padraig Sheridan as it finished 3-15 to 1-10