Cavan Ladies IFC: Lynch goal denies Mullahoran title

Cavan Ladies IFC: Lynch goal denies Mullahoran title

Lavey 1-12
Mullahoran 1-12

Lavey ladies produced their own version of the Late, Late Show in denying long-time leaders Mullahoran the IFC title after a cracking final in Killygarry on Saturday evening last.
Just when it seemed as if the aristocrats of ladies football were to reap the ultimate dividend from stepping down a grade, Lavey corner-forward Louise Lynch played the role of party-pooper to a tee.
The black and whites were staring through the prism of defeat as added-on time beckoned when Lynch poked home the ball through a cobweb of interwoven legs on the Mullahoran goal-line after Catriona Smith’s long delivery caused all sorts of panic.
Lynch’s late leveller bookended a game of fluctuating fortunes and arguably copper-fastened the deliverance of justice in the process.
For while Mullahoran had the look of winners from a long way out, such was Lavey’s fortitude, resolve and ambition that even the most blinkered Dreadnought could scarcely have begrudged them a second bite of the cherry.
Mullahoran were their usual eager-beaver selves and for certain tracts of the game showed glimpses of the sharp claws and strong teeth which made them queens of all they surveyed in ladies football in Cavan not so many moons ago.
Lavey are clearly an up-and-coming force though and for every punch Mullahoran landed, Lavey’s finest laid an equally telling counter punch.
The see-saw nature of the contest formed the marrow of the script and nobody was surprised that the teams were level on two occasions inside the opening nine minutes.
Mullahoran attacked the scoreboard end of the pitch with vim and vigour and points from Aisling Sheridan and Aine Brady eased them into an early lead.
However Sharon Monaghan’s influence on the game became all the more pronounced as the game wore on and a hat-trick of points from the rangy full-forward served to nick a 0-5 to 0-3 opening quarter lead for the wannabe champions.
The importance of goals in championship matches brooks no debate and as with that aforementioned dramatic last-gasp effort, the opening goal of the game proved hugely significant in shaping the match.
Fine efforts from Renee Murphy (25th min) – after good work by Eveyln Smith – and Louise Maguire 42 seconds later eased Lavey into a 0-7 to 0-5 lead but Lavey failed to score for a further 11 minutes straddling the half-time break.
In between times, Mullahoran played arguably their best football of the day with tearaway attacker Breda Smith setting up Una Brady for a neat point and then the latter cracked home a scorching goal on the half-hour to really put the cat among the pidgeons.
The second half saw Lavey begin with all the urgency of a pall bearer and they seemed to be still in a state of shock following Brady’s belter.
Mullahoran were in no mood to wait for their opponents to switch back on and after Aisling Sheridan pointed after just 38 seconds, a rasping 35 metre run and unerring finish by Breda Smith left Lavey staring into the abyss, it seemed.
The strong-running Louise Maguire was to prove more than a handful for Mullahoran all evening though and her point in the 38th minute had inspiration stamped all over it.
It remained a four point game though as the final quarter beckoned with a brace of frees from Aine Brady making it 1-10 to 0-9.
Despite excellent backs-to-the-wall defence by Mullahoran, Lavey ratcheted up their quest for the title in the run-in with only Una Brady’s 57th minute effort interrupting four final scores from the chasing team.
Brady’s point steered her side into a 1-12 to 0-10 lead and looked set to copper-fasten Mullahoran’s entry into the winner’s enclosure.
However Lavey instigated a recovery that would make Lazarus look like a slow coach.
The peerless Monaghan fired over yet another free two minutes from time. Forty seconds later the collective ball-playing skills of Louise Maguire, Renee Murphy and Catriona Smith set up Rachel Jordan for a rafter-raising point.
Then in the dregs of normal time, Lavey left the bluebloods of the game holding their heads with Lynch’s soccer-style finish.
Chances went abegging at either end of the field with seconds to go in the game as the tension strained belief.
The replay should make for another epochal occasion. 
Jennifer Kane; Celina Smith, Sinead Cusack, Clare Tierney; Rachel Jordan (0-1), Siobhan Jordan, Aisling Conaty; Catriona Smith, Renee Murphy (0-2); Laurna Reilly (0-1), Louise Maguire, Eveyln Smith; Leanne Tierney, Sharon Monaghan (0-7, five frees), Louise Lynch.
Sub; Laura Walsh for C Tierney; Ann Marie Dunne for A Conaty;
Patricia Galligan; Niamh Reilly, Bernadine Brady, Sheila Reilly; Kerrie Byrne, Geraldine Sheridan, Kate Smith; Mona Sheridan, Louise Sheridan; Geraldine Dalton, Aisling Sheridan (0-2), Una Brady (1-6, five frees); Aine Brady (0-3), Julieanne Brady, Breda Smith (0-1).
Sub; Julie Ann Sheridan for G Dalton.
Ref; Martin Sexton (Cavan Gaels)

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