Second half Cusack goals propel Loreto Cavan to Lidl All-Ireland PPS Senior A title win

Lidl All-Ireland PPS Senior A Final
Loreto, Cavan 3-5 Loreto, Clonmel 1-7
By Cóilín Duffy at Coralstown/Kinnegad GAA Club
TWO second half goals from Muireann Cusack proved key as Loreto, Cavan claimed their first ever Lidl All-Ireland PPS Senior A Ladies football title at Coralstown-Kinnegad.
There was a tremendous atmosphere throughout for a game which was edge of the seat stuff, and not only saw both sides in final action for the first time, but also both trying to bring the coveted ‘A’ title to their counties for the first time.
Clonmel got off to a whirlwind start and were really eager to make their mark, with Ava Fennessy scoring a pointed free just 70 seconds after the throw-in, after she had been fouled.
From the resulting kick-out, Niamh Barry’s charges again drove forward with their captain Cora Maher finding the back of the Cavan net.
1-1 to 0-0 ahead and only 92 seconds gone on the clock, the Tipp side were really looking good.
But as is always the case in finals, and a key feature of Ladies Football, teams never give up and there was a battle royale right until the end.
Cavan had plenty of chances over the next while but found it tough. There were calls for a penalty in the sixth minute – it arrived after a foot-block, but Aine Reilly drove and effort wide, before another wide a minute later.
The Breffni side eventually gained composure with a a pointed free from Lidl Player of the Match Lauren McVeety getting her side going.
Reilly doubled her sides tally, before a KellyAnn Hogan point.
However, scores were non-existent over the next ten minutes, in a spell which saw Cavan captain Niamh Keenaghan sin-binned.
Cavan worked this spell well though, and two minutes before Keenaghan’s return McVeety found the net to level the tie for the first time at 1-2 apiece five minutes before the break.
Clonmel pushed forward just on the stroke of half-time, with Anna Carey scoring her lone point of this game, to help her side to a 1-3 to 1-2 interval lead.
Cavan equalised 17 seconds after the restart through Cusack, with the Ulster champions having a fine second half.
Cusack’s point kick-started a fine spell for Aine Shannon’s charges who added a further 2-1 unanswered, with corner-forward Cusack lethal.
However despite a quick score on the restart, it took almost seven minutes for another flag to be raised, with Cavan firing three wides, while Clonmel had efforts hit the post and also drop short.
Cavan again pressed, but some fine displays in the Clonmel defence kept them at bay.
Eventually the girls in maroon broke though with Ally Cahill adding a point which would see Cavan into a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Cusack fired two goals inside 90 seconds from Cusack to take a 3-4 to 1-3 lead on 40 minutes.
Some would have said there would be no way back for Clonmel but they didn’t make it easy.
Points from KellyAnn Hogan (2) and Jenny Everard kept Clonmel in touch, with the scoreline reading 3-5 to 1-7 in the 59th minute.
Clonmel couldn’t buy their luck in the latter stages, with an Everard goal shot in the 56th minute coming off the upright.
Crucially also Cavan defended well, and they held out for a well deserved victory and a historic All-Ireland success.
After the game LGFA President Marie Hickey presented the Cup to Loreto Cavan captain Niamh Keenaghan whith Lauren McVeety also receiving the Lidl Player of the Match award from Marie Hickey.
Scorers for Loreto Cavan: Muireann Cusack 2-1; Lauren McVeety 1-1 (1f); Aine Reilly, Ally Cahill, Niamh McCorry 0-1 each.
Scorers for Loreto Clonmel: KellyAnn Hogan 0-3 (2f); Cora Maher 1-0; Jenny Everard 0-2; Anna Carey, Ava Fennessy (1f) 0-1 each.
LORETO CAVAN: Ciara Boylan; Áine Brady, Muireann Smith, Eadaoin Galligan; Áine Dennehy, Lauren McVeety, Abbie Sexton; Elaine Brady, Darcey Beck; Niamh Keenaghan, Niamh McCorry, Kate Kellegher; Muireann Cusack, Áine Reilly, Ally Cahill. Subs: Aisling Walls for Beck (36); Lorna O’Reilly for Kellagher (42); Olivia Murphy for Cahill (59).
LORETO CLONMEL: Aoibhin Coady; Veerle Van Der Wal, Maeve Ryan, Brigita Valuntaite; Niamh Martin, Sadhbh Hallinan, Orla Winston; Kellyann Hogan, Cora Maher; Anna Carey, Aine Fitzgerald, Gretta Nugent; Jenny Everard, Ava Fennessy, Eimear Quirke. Subs: Caoimhe Mulcahy for Quirke (37).
REFEREE: Barry Redmond (Wexford)

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