Farrelly Major Books Royal Place in Minor

A Marion Farrelly goal three minutes from normal time sealed Meath’s progress into their second All Ireland Final of the year. Following in the footsteps of Phil Fay’s Under 14s, the Minors booked their place in the All Ireland Final with a determined ferocious display which saw they come back from a seven point defecit to go in level at half time. A tit for tat second half had the Breffni County in front and it looked like it would be Cavan heading for the final but for Farrelly’s late goal ensuring the Royals progressed.

4 Action from the All Ireland Semi-Final where Meath overcame a strong Cavan challenge

It was five minutes before Marion Farrelly got the scoreboard into action, the Minor Captain leading by example after a good pass through from Emma White. Early Royal pressure was soaked up by an impressive Cavan defence and it took several attempts before Farrelly opened the scoring. Cavan’s response was immediate, Cavan full forward Sinead McGovern pointing on the resumption. A free from Phillipa Watters and a point from Geraldine Smith had the Royals trailing with nine mins gone on the clock. With Niamh and Emma Cassidy, Katie Bellew and Meath goalkeeper Laurie McLean showing well, Meath pushed on and Farrelly grabbed the first of a hat trick of goals on 12 mins. Aoibhín Cleary’s pass along the sideline found Kelsey Nesbitt who in turn released the ball to Farrelly. Farrelly’s shot was a cheeky one which deflected off Cavan netminder Amy Wharton before slipping into the net. The Royals should have been further ahead – Hannah Mulvaney missing a sitter before Watters hit Cavan’s opening goal with a smashing shot to the top of McLean’s net on 15 mins. The Royals coped well with Emma White reducing the gap to one before Cavan hit a purple patch, Gemma McLoughlin put Cavan four in front as she found the back of the net on 16 mins while McGovern grabbed goal number three for Cavan on 18 mins. To their credit, the Royals did not panic and instead set about reducing the gap; Nesbitt, Karley Leavy and Farrelly all pointing to reduce the gap to four. With the Royals controlling midfield through Aoibhín Cleary and Emma White and Karley Leavy marshalling the defence, the Royals pushed on despite a Cavan score on 24 mins, Nesbitt reduced the deficit to two when she netted on 27 mins, Megan Thynne overturning possession before finding Nesbitt who finished with aplomb. On the resulting kickout, Nesbitt was found again and she split the posts while it was Farrelly who brought the sides level after terrific play from Cleary. It was all square at half time and with the possibility of playing with the wind in the second half, the Royals went in the happier.


Half Time; Meath 2-07, Cavan 3-04.


The second half was a tight affair with Watters converting a free for Cavan in the 32nd min and they should have taken a greater lead but for super defending from Niamh Cassidy as Kate Fitzpatrick’s shot flashed across the Meath goal. A well timed hand pass from Nesbitt to Farrelly found the St. Michaels player loose on the 13m line and the Meath Captain netted for her second goal of the game to send her team into a two point lead. Watters converted a free to reduce the gap to one before Emma White smashed the ball into the net for Royal goal number four on 43 mins. With the game in the melting pot Cavan hit back and two goals in two mins from Phillipa Watters and Sinead McGovern set the Breffni side into a two point lead. The teams swapped scores – a fine long range point from Vikki Wall after a terrific run from the Dunboyne player was wiped out by Watters fourth point on 47 mins. Two behind, the pressure was on the Royals to up the ante and they did not disappoint. The industrious Megan Thynne, who had another fabulous outing for the Royals, reduced the gap to one and Laurie McLean was sprung into action to prevent a certain goal. Sinead McGovern who had a super game for her side grabbed a point on 52 mins and this turned out to be Cavan’s final score as the Royals upped the ante once more. Nesbitt, substitute Regina Hand and Farrelly all had efforts saved or waved wide. What appeared to be a penalty as Nesbitt was fouled going through was awarded a 13m free by referee Brendan Rice, with Cavan finishing with fourteen, Farrelly converted the free to leave just one between the sides. As the game headed into the final minutes, whispers of extra time were heard but the Royals had other plans. An Aoibhín Cleary free in midfield found Vikki Wall, her pace taking her into the 20m line before finding Thynne in space. A timely pass to Farrelly ensured the Minor Captain buried the ball into the net to grab the Royals’ fifth goal and more importantly the lead once more. A converted free from Farrelly deep into injury time sealed the win for the Royals whose strong finish is sure to help them as they now prepare for an All Ireland Final.


Full Time: Meath 5-11, Cavan 5-08.


Eamon Murray and the Minor Management are sure to be delighted with their charges today. The never-say-die attitude is alive and well in the Minor camp and with Roscommon now waiting for the Royals in the Final, the Royals will know nothing but their best will be good enough if they are to take All Ireland honours. However, from one to twenty-eight the Royals were super today and with leaders all over the field, they can look with optimism to the final.


Congratulations to the Minors and we look forward to the Final on July 30th against Roscommon.


Meath Team & Scorers: Laurie McLean, Megan Lyons, Katie Bellew, Emma Cassidy, Emer McEntee, Karley Leavy (0-01), Niamh Cassidy, Aoibhín Cleary, Emma White (1-01), Roisín Commons, Megan Thynne (0-01), Hannah Mulvaney, Kelsey Nesbitt (1-02), Marion Farrelly (3-05, 3f, C), Vikki Wall (0-01)

Subs: Regina Hand for Commons (HT), Ailbhe Leahy for Mulvaney (40 mins), Rachel Troy for McEntee (52 mins), Claire Mullen, Rhiannon Hoey, Emma McCarney, Tara Fay, Lizzie Collins, Caoimhe McKenna, Becca McIntyre, Martha Reidy, Sarah Wall, Judy Bobbett.


Cavan: A. Wharton, G. McLoughlin, D. McGovern, S. Pierson, E. O’Reilly (C), H. McHugh, A. McGearty, C. Finnegan, K. Costello, L. Keogan, P. Watters, K. Fitzpatrick, K. Doonan, S. McGovern, G. Smith.


Ref: Brendan Rice (Down)

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