Cavan edge gallant Dubs out of All-Ireland final

Cavan edge gallant Dubs out of All-Ireland Final.

How often have we heard the old cliché, “No one can predict
how it will go on the day”. Well, if preparation were the
only ingredient to ensure success, Dublin, certainly had
completed the course with flying colours. Manager, John
Hillery, contesting Dublin’s third consecutive under-age
All-Ireland Ladies Semi-Final knows all about the tensions
and pressures at this level. Training twice weekly from
last September, organising numerous challenge matches, dominant
throughout the Leinster campaign, triumphant in their third
consecutive Leinster Final. One could have been excused
for giving short odds in favour of Dublin disposing of Cavan
and earning their place in the 2003 All-Ireland U-16 Ladies
Football Final. Both contesting teams, Cavan and Dublin
were anxiously awaiting their Final in, what many commentators
had predicted, with convincing certainty, would inevitably
be against Cork, but that speculation too was wide of the
mark as was demonstrated in the Connaught-Munster Semi-Final
where Galway (4-16) emerged triumphant over favourites,
Cork (2-11). But this is football and following the textbook
goes a long way, but you also need the bit of luck on your
side on the day.

The Royal County played host to this year’s All-Ireland
U-16 Ladies Football Semi-Final between its two adjacent
neighbours, Cavan and Dublin. The official Meath County
grounds, Pairc Tailtean in Navan was the setting. A beautiful
day, in ideal weather conditions with the pitch in magnificent
condition. The stage was set as Referee, Gerry Guinan, (Galway)
signalled the crowd’s attention for Amhrán na bhFiann. The
game was under way.

Dublin’s mid-field, Ciára Kilpatrick (Naomh Olaf) secured
possession of the breaking ball from the throw-in and quickly
distributed it to wing-forward, Grace O’Neill (Foxrock),
whose attempt at placing it over the bar, resulted in the
first wide of the game. Dublin’s Goalkeeper, Lynsey Flood
(Castleknock), subsequent kick-out was intercepted by the
Cavan half-forwards, who set up the first their scoring
opportunity, three minutes into the game. The subsequent
Cavan effort from, Centre Half-Forward, Emma Clarke (Knockbride)
resulted in a wide, 3 minutes into play. Both teams were
still anxious and needed to settle down. A minute later,
Cavan’s full-forward, Bronagh Sheridan (Erne Gaels), scored
the opening point of the game. Cavan secured possession
from the subsequent kick-out, this time it was Kathleen
Lynch (Gowna) who, as an early substitute for mid-field,
Ailish Cronyn (Drumkeeran), scored Cavan’s second point.
A Cavan challenge on Dublin’s wing-back, Andrea Bowe (Round
Tower) resulted in a free which created Dublin’s first score
on the board, seven minutes into play, with an excellent
point by corner-forward, Lorna Hillery (Castleknock). The
reply came swiftly from Cavan’s corner forward, Aisling
Traynor (Knockbride) followed by a series of successive
points from her club-mate, centre half-forward, Emma Clarke,
the pair scoring between them a total of six points without
reply. In the midst of this scoring run, mid-field, Ashling
Doonan (Templeport) added a point to the Cavan tally. On
form, Emma Clarke, found the back of the Dublin net with
the help of the posts, sixteen minutes into the game. At
this point, things did not appear very encouraging for Dublin,
a goal and eight points down. Dublin made a substitution
with Lynn Dowling (Parnells) replacing Lynsey Flood (Castleknock)
in goals. 18 minutes into the game, with Cavan now dominating
play, and Dublin having only one wide up to the thirteenth
minute, Dublin lifted their spirits when Lorna Hillery engineered
a superb pass to Sinéad Tucker (Round Tower) securing Dublin’s
first goal. Lorna Hillery followed with two further points.
At this stage, Dublin was making inroads and began to erode
away the deficit. But Cavan, dominant in the first half,
were determined, and secured 3 further points, one from
full-forward, Bronagh Sheridan (Erne Gaels) and 2 from wing-forward,
Aisling Traynor (Knockbride). There was relief in the Dublin
camp when the half-time whistle was blown.

Half-time score: Dublin: 1-3; Cavan: 1-12

Carrying a 9 point deficit as play resumed, Dublin, recharged
by a passionately motivated and inspirational half-time
team talk, emerged with renewed enthusiasm and determination
to succeed. Within the first minute of resumed play, Dublin’s,
wing forward, Orla Cotter (Naomh Olaf) put the ball over
the bar. In reply, corner-forward, Catriona Smith (Lavey)
secured a point for Cavan. Dublin’s Lorna Hillery was on
form, scoring two points from difficult angles, off her
left boot. This was the start of Dublin’s heroic comeback.
Dublin brought on fresh legs with, Natasha Barnwall (Fingal
Ravens) replacing Grace O’Neill (Foxrock) and Anna Conlan
(Kilmacud Crokes) replacing her Club colleague and, Dublin
team Captain, Caoilfhionn Ní Leidhin in mid-field. Once
again, Lorna Hillery set up centre-half forward, Sinéad
Tucker (Round Tower) to score a magnificent goal, nine minutes
into the second period. Two minutes later Lorna again glided
the ball, 35 yards out from the wing, over the cross-bar.
There appeared to be a reversal of fortune as Cavan failed
to score for a 20 minute period as Dublin played catch-up.
Dublin’s, Sinéad Finnegan (Fingallians) made a dramatic
advance from her centre-half back position to register another
point for the Dubs. The game was now 22 minutes into the
second half, with Cavan confined to a single point. The
turning point of the game came when Dublin’s, Ciára Kilpatrick,
(Naomh Olaf) gained possession of the ball from her midfield
position and progressed it up Lorna Hillery, whose deceptive
movement, sent the Cavan defence to the right wing, thereby
opening up the free space on the left in front of Sinéad
Tucker (Round Tower), who blasted it into the back of the
Cavan net. For a fleeting moment both sides were almost
level. At this point, Cavan substituted Julieanne Brady
(Mullahoran) for wing-forward, Nicola O’Dwyer (Lurgan).
The Cavan reply was swift and deadly in its accuracy and,
from 20 yards in front of the Dublin posts; a powerful goal
was delivered by Ashling Doonan (Templeport) into the back
of the Dublin net. At this stag, time was ticking away relentlessly.
With six minutes remaining on the clock and Cavan 3 points
ahead, the Dublin spirit remained unvanquished, as the gallant
Dubs kept forging ahead, securing possession to score yet
another point. The reply came from Cavan’s mid-field, Ailish
Cronyn (Drumkeeran), followed by a point from the Cavan
centre half-forward, Emma Clarke (Knockbride). With Cavan
now in the lead by four points, it was imperative Dublin
secure a goal. Cavan’s tactical decision to defend their
lead in the dying minutes of the game and with Dublin reeling
from the killer goal a few moments earlier, it was not surprising
Dublin’s goal hat-trick scoring machine, Sinéad Tucker (Round
Tower) was swarmed out by a resolute Cavan defence, with
victory within their sights. But, Dublin, with their “never
say die” attitude, witnessed yet another slick decoy by
Lorna Hillery, to shake off the Cavan defence which had
encircled Tucker, made an heroic, yet desperate, attempt
to score the equalising goal, to force extra time. The best
Dublin could do was to secure a point. Sinéad delivered.
A proud and honourable effort – from a gallant Dublin side.
But on this occasion, time ran out. Cavan won by the goal.
They proudly go to meet Galway in the All-Ireland U-16 Ladies
Final on Saturday 23rd August.

The upset and disappointment etched on the tearful faces
of the Dublin players told the sad tale of what for some
of them had become their third consecutive All-Ireland Semi-Final
defeat. But one often learns more from a defeat than a win.
This is a formidable Dublin side, who, had it been another
day, would have beaten Cavan as they demonstrated in a challenge
match back on St. Patrick’s weekend. But that’s football!
And, if nothing else, they provided the large crowd in attendance
with a spectacular game of football. Pride of place goes
to the outstanding efforts of Dublin’s midfield, Ciára Kilpatrick
(Naomh Olaf); Sinéad Tucker (Round Tower) and, Lorna Hillery
(Castleknock). Following the game, Cepta Traynor and Eamonn
Lynch, on behalf of the Cavan management, revealed they
had been training intensively all year but conceded that
this was the toughest opposition they had encountered and
the most sporting game they ever had, played with great
skill, passion and determination. Sentiments conveyed by
the Fintan Tierney, Chairman of the Cavan County Board,
who acknowledged the skill of the Dublin players.

Beidh lá éile ag Átha Cliath, le cunamh Dé.
Full-time score: Cavan: 2-16 (22 pts.); Dublin: 3-10 (19

Dublin Scores: Sinéad Tucker (Round Tower): 3-1;
Lorna Hillery (Castleknock): 0-7; Orla Cotter (Naomh Olaf):
0-1; Sinéad Finnegan (Fingallians): 0-1.
Cavan Scores: Emma Clarke (Knockbride):1-5; Aisling
Traynor (Knockbride):0-5; Ashling Doonan (Templeport):1-2;
Bronagh Sheridan (Erne Gaels): 0-2; Ailish Cronyn (Drumkeeran):
0-1; Catriona Smith (Lavey): 0-1.
Wides: Cavan: 9 Dublin: 6
Frees: Cavan: 16 Dublin: 11
45’s: Cavan: 1 Dublin: 1

Dublin U-16 Ladies Panel (1) Lynsey Flood (Castleknock)
(2) Siobhan McGrath (Thomas Davis) (3) Aoife Greene (Fingallian’s)
(4) Aoife Kilkenny (St. Brigid’s) (5) Andrea Bowe (Round
Tower) (6) Sinéad Finnegan (Fingallian’s) (7) Karen Hudson
(Fingallian’s) (8) Caoilfhionn Ní Leidhin (Kilmacud Crokes)
(9) Ciára Kilpatrick (Naomh Olaf) (10) Michelle Dunne (St.
Brigid’s) (11) Lorna Hillery (Castleknock) (12) Grace O’Neill
(Foxrock) (13) Amy McGuinness (Fingallian’s) (14) Kathy
Whyte (Naomh Olaf) (15) Natasha Barnwall (Fingal Ravens)
(16) Anna Conlan (Kilmacud Crokes) (17) Hannah Coen (Naomh
Olaf) (18) Orla Vallely (Cabinteely) (19) Laura Walsh (Kilmacud
Crokes) (20) Orla Cotter (Naomh Olaf) (21) Lynn Dowling
(Parnells) (22) Adrienne Moore (Man-O-War) (23) Karina Connolly
(Round Tower) (24) Jennifer Cook (Fingallian’s) (25) Catherine
Cotter (Naomh Olaf) (26) Fiona Merriman (Kilmacud Crokes)
(27) Aimee Molloy (St. Brigid’s) (28) Orla Sadlier (Fingallian’s)
(29) Sinéad Tucker (Round Tower) (30) Clodagh Fitzgerald
(Kilmacud Crokes) (31) Aisling Kelly (Kilmacud Crokes) (32)
Emma Bates (Castleknock)
Dublin U-16 Management Team John V Hillery (Castleknock)
Team Manager Gerry Greene (Fingallian’s) Coach/Selector
Padraig Kelly (Kilmacud Crokes) Coach/Selector Camillus
Kilpatrick (Naomh Olaf) Coach/Selector Mary McGuinness (Fingallian’s)

Pathway to the Leinster Final.
Leinster Championship 2003
22-02-03 Dublin (4-10) v Wexford (1-01)
08-03-03 Dublin (4-09) v Meath (2-10)
15-03-03 Dublin (1-13) v Laois (0-09)
05-04-03 Kildare (1-10) v Dublin (2-06)
2003 Leinster U-16 Semi-Final 03-05-03 Dublin (2-08) v Kildare
2003 Leinster U-16 Final 24-05-03 Dublin (2-10) v Meath
2003 All-Ireland U-16 Semi-Final 02-08-03 Cavan (2-16) v
Dublin (3-10)

Cavan U-16 Ladies Panel: (1) Aideen Duff (Killinkere)
(2) Niamh Smith (Cuchuillians) (3) Clodagh Doonan (Templeport)
(4) Edel Gaffney (Lurgan) (5) Elaine O’Reilly (Ballyhaise)
(6) Patricia Lynch (Gowna) (7) Joanne Moore (Lacken) (8)
Ashling Doonan (Templeport) (9) Ailish Cronyn (Drumkeeran)
(10) Nicola O’Dwyer (Lurgan) (11) Emma Clarke (Knockbride)
(12) Ashling Traynor (Knockbride) (13) Roisin O’Keeffe (Lacken)
(14) Bronagh Sheridan (Erin Gaels) (15) Catriona Smith (Lavey)
(16) Laura Walsh (Lavey) (17) Julieanne Brady (Mullahoran)
(18) Kathleen Lynch (Gowna) (19) Christine McCutcheon(Cootehill)
(20) Nicole Sheanon (Lacken) (21) Kerrie Smith (Castlerahan/Denin)
(22) Laura Shaughnessy (Kilgarry) (23) Bronagh Boyle (Erin
Gaels) (24) Claire O’Brien (Cootehill) (25) Erinn Galligan

Report compiled by: John V Hillery (Dublin Team Manager)

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