U-14 All Ireland Championship Quarter Final

Meath v Donegal
Breffni Park, Cavan
Sunday 25th May 2008
Throw In: 3pm

Half Time: Meath 1-05 v Donegal 1-02
Full Time: Meath 4-12 v Donegal 1-03

Meath booked their place in the All Ireland semi finals with a stunning win over Donegal at Breffni Park on Sunday. Although it was 12 minutes before either team registered a score the game was not short of excitement and entertained the crowd that had attended. The Meath forwards were once again to the fore as they irritated the Donegal defenders with their constant threat of scoring.

The game opened with high hopes for the Meath side after their terrific display last week against Laois in the Leinster Final. From the opening minute Meath opened an assault on the Donegal goals but it took a while for them to settle and take their scores. With a strong breeze against them Meath kicked ball after ball into the Donegal goals but Donegal keeper, Mary B. O'Donnell, was equal to every challenge. At the back, Kate Jennings was superb for Meath as she closed the door on several Donegal opportunities. The first ten minutes saw both teams spurn chances. On 8 minutes Sinead Coyle and Áine Bennett combined to put Jacinta Maher through for a score but the talented O'Mahonys player failed to put the ball between the posts. On the resulting goal-kick Rachel Flynn was called into action and defended well to return the ball to the industrious forwards. Sinead Coyle on 10 minutes and Adrienne McCann on 11 minutes both had shots well saved from O'Donnell.

Finally on 12 minutes, Maher got the scoring underway with a stunning point from just inside the 21 yard line. On the resumption Donegal powered through the Meath defence and only for the persistence of Flynn Donegal would have been through on goal. As it was the shot was missed. On the goal kick, Donegal claimed the ball and returned it to the goal, equaling the score on 14 minutes. On 16 minutes, Meath added a second through Ratoath's Adrienne McCann and fellow club player Katie Callaghan added a third on 17 minutes from a free after A. McCann was fouled. Excellent defending from Jennings, and a block from Cliona Murray on 21 minutes forced the first 45' of the game. On 22 minutes, Marion Doherty, Donegal's centre-half forward pointed after the 45' leaving them just one point in arrears, Meath 0-03 to Donegal's 0-02. Two minutes later Callaghan doubled Meath's advantage with a further point from a free. On 25 minutes Maher gave Meath their fifth point after a great run at the Donegal defence. Against the run of play, Donegal found the back of the net after Meath keeper Niamh Geraghty failed to completely clear a previous shot and Donegal found the loose ball and finished it off with precision and determination making the game level on 29 minutes. Deep into injury time in the first half Meath made amends for conceding their goal by scoring a goal of their own through Áine Bennett who made a determined run down the left wing to receive the ball in the first instance, then run with it and finish it with superb skill to put Meath ahead by three points at half time, Meath 1-05 to Donegal's 1-02.

It didn't take Meath long to register their first score of the second half, indeed some members of both sides hadn't returned to the pitch when Adrienne McCann buried the ball in the back of the net on 32 minutes. The ball had been sent in by Sinead Coyle and was heading out past the end line when McCann saved it from going wide. Despite the non-reaction of the umpires the referee signaled wide. Confusion reigned for a moment as the referee assessed the situation. The result was a throw-up and in this Meath won possession, found McCann and McCann did the rest. With the wind now at their backs the second half went all Meath's way and for a large part the Meath defence were simply spectators as the forwards drew cheer after cheer from the crowd. Saying that, the Meath defence was superb in the second half keeping Donegal scoreless save for a free in just before full time. In two minutes, Katie Callaghan pointed twice both from frees to make the score 2-07 to 1-02. Laura Dempsey added a point on 36 minutes to increase Donegal's misery. Meath captain Sinead Coyle led by example by collecting the ball from the goal kick and running at the Donegal defence. A superb inter-change between Coyle and Callaghan allowed Coyle get into a great position and the Oldcastle girl forcefully struck the ball finding the back of the net in style on 37 minutes. Áine Bennett added 1-01 on 41 and 43 minutes both scores as a result of good teamwork and both fine finishes from the Moynalty player. On 46 minutes, Rachel Flynn, Coyle and A. McCann combined flawlessly to add another point through McCann. On 53 minutes, McCann added a further point and it was a case of just finishing out time and awaiting the final whistle in the match which had started out so competitively. Niamh Geraghty, Meath keeper was called into action on 58 minutes and the Na Fianna keeper saved well and found Sinead Coyle for safety. The Meath defence conceded a soft free on 59 minutes to give Donegal their only score of the second half. It was Meath who continued to dominate the half and tough defending from Karen Blaney and a resulting wide by Coyle ended the game on a Royal high, final score Meath 4-12, Donegal 1-03.
In all areas of the field Meath were simply awesome and are without a doubt the most talented county underage team to emerge from Meath ladies football for some time. They face Galway in the All Ireland Semi Final on the weekend of the 7th/8th June.
On the day, Meath were best represented by first and foremost their captain, Sinead Coyle who was everywhere on the pitch and was involved in all the major incidents of the game. Kate Jennings, Lauren McCann, Katie Callaghan, Aine Bennett and Jacinta Maher were also extraordinary for a team that is going from strength to strength as the season progresses. Their skill, determination and stream-lined play will be an extremely difficult challenge for Galway to overcome in a fortnight's time.

Meath Team & Scorers: N. Geraghty, K. Jennings, C. Murray, K. Fallahy, R. Flynn,
L. McCann, K. Blaney, L. Bagnall, S. Coyle (1-00, capt), K. Callaghan (0-05),
L. Dempsey (0-01), L. Murray, A. Bennett (2-01), A. McCann (1-03), J. Maher (0-02). Subs: J. Kavanagh for L. Murray (42 mins), O. Bracken for Bennett (50 mins),
D. Moroney for Maher (55 mins), S. Stanley, E. O'Hare, L. Lynch, L. Patterson, M. Scanlon, N. Lister.

Referee: Vivian Hardiman (Roscommon)

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