Tyrone Ladies Advance Past Cavan

Tyrone have booked their place in the last four of the TG4 Ulster senior championship thanks to a one point extra time win over Cavan at Brewster Park on Saturday, Tyrone were pressed all the way by a battling quality Cavan side and the O’Neill county side will thank goalkeeper Shannon Lynch who made a wonderful triple save and Zoe Loughran who found the net at the other end in dramatic extra time.

Tyrone Ladies and Cavan Players battle for vital possession during the first round of the Ulster Senior Ladies Football championship

It may not have been a classic encounter but it was exciting for the neutral as both sides traded scores, wide’s and also some poor  pass selection as both tried to take control of this quarter final clash in perfect conditions. Both defences came out with full marks though on a day when forwards were well shackled.

The Donegal challenge awaits Tyrone now, they eased to a facile 61 point win over Down on Saturday but they will have learned little from that outing, the semi-final next month will be a closer affair.

The first half was dominated by those defences as forwards found space hard to come by at both ends, there were chances but poor pass selection and the stop start nature of the play was frustrating for both camps. Aishling Doonan opened the scoring for Cavan almost from the throw in, Gemma Begley and Doonan exchanged points levelling things before Tyrone hit their best spell of the half. Sadly for them it failed to produce scores.

With the defence tight and leaving no openings for Cavan, Neamh Woods, Emma Hegarty and Gemma Begley pressed forward for Tyrone, Cathy Donnelly saw two efforts drop short while a cheeky lob from thirty metres from Joline Donnelly rattled off the crossbar. Emma Hegarty and Shannon Quinn also created several openings as Angie McShane continued to be a handful to stop.

Grainne Smith gave Cavan the lead again though with the impressive Doonan opening the gap again with a well timed run rewarded with a point. Niamh O’Neill flashed over Tyrone’s third point of the half with twenty four minutes gone but with Cavan enjoying plenty of ball and pushing Tyrone to the pin of their collars in defence Doonan again pointed and the Breffni side led 0-5 to 0-3 at the break.

Begley and Doonan traded early second half scores but the game took a turn when Alannah McShane was sin-binned. Donna English was drafted in to the Breffni side and started to pull the strings. Tyrone did level things at six apiece but with ten minutes to go Cavan led by three after putting Tyrone under pressure with Doonan and the Smiths, Grainne and Caitriona finding scores. It was going to take character to come back –Tyrone had it in spades- Cathy Donnelly lashed over a long ranger before Joline Donnelly hit a brace to level things and take the tie to extra time.

Cavan opened the scoring in the first period with a point but they should really have found the net, a stunning Lynch triple save kept Tyrone in the game. Grainne Smith broke clear and picked her spot, Lynch palmed it away only in to the path of Roisin O’Keefe, she drilled the ball low to the Castlederg custodians right, again pushed clear before Smith saw her final shot broke down and cleared. Joline Donnelly then levelled things before the crucial Loughran goal. The young forward fresh from the bench was teed up by Cathy Donnelly after a super Begley pass. Tyrone were in the box seat and drove on into the second period with Donnelly finding the target again.

Cue dramatic defending by Tyrone as they clung on, Christiane Hunter, Maria Donnelly, Karen Quinn, Woods and Grainne Rafferty were immense in those last moments and despite another Doonan point, her tenth, Tyrone Ladies finished strong to claim the win. A battling if not perfect performance by the Tyrone Ladies, room for improvement but a place in the last four it is.




TYRONE Ladies Gemma Begley 0-5, Joline Donnelly 0-4,  Zoe Loughran 1-0, Cathy Donnelly 0-2 Niamh O’Neill 0-1

CAVAN Ladies Aishling Doonan 0-10, Grainne Smith 0-2, Caitriona Smith 0-1, Sarah Murray 0-1


Tyrone: Shannon Lynch, Emma Louise Mulgrew, Christiane Hunter, Maria Donnelly, Karen Quinn, Neamh Woods, Grainne Rafferty, Shannon Quinn, Emma Hegarty, Cathy Donnelly, Gemma Begley, Angie McShane, Joline Donnelly, Niamh O’Neill, Alanna McShane.

Subs: Zoe Loughran For O’Neill.  Niamh O’Neill For McShane

Cavan: Jennifer Kane, Rachael Jordan, Laura Fitzpatrick, Emma McDermott, Sheila Reilly, Grainne McGalde, Sinead Greene, Mona Sheridan, Rosie Crowe, Sarah Murray, Aishling Doonan, Shona King, Roisin O’Keefe , Grainne Smith, Caitriona Smith.

Subs: Shaunna Lynch For McDermott, Donna English For Murray, Aishling Sheridan For Grainne Smith, Aoibhin Kernan For Greene, Sarah Murray For Crowe, Gearldine Sheridan For Mona Sheridan,


Referee Paul Swift

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