Ladies into quarter-finals after Cavan scare

Early in the second half of today’s entertaining LGFA Senior Championship group match between Mayo and Cavan at Pearse Park in Longford, everything seemed to be going in the right way from our point of view. We led by eight points at that stage and looked well on course to seal the win that would guarantee the team’s place in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Despite trailing well at that point, Cavan were still proving a tough enough nut for us to crack. They flooded their defence with bodies when we attacked and then broke rapidly on the counter when they got possession.

We didn’t help matters by working the ball up the field too slowly, relying mainly on handpasses, and when they countered, we went one-on-one at the back, enabling them to push rapidly and dangerously into the scoring zone. To that extent, the game bore more than a little resemblance to some of the men’s recent outings.

Still, our shooting from distance was excellent and it was this ability to land points from outside their cover that left us in the good position we were in. Lisa Cafferkey, Shauna Howley, Sinéad Walsh, Sarah Mulvihil and Tara Needham all bagged points from well out to keep the scoreboard ticking over from us.

A determined Cavan fightback in the second half saw them fire home two good goals – Aly Cahill finishing both of them – and then a point from Aisling Gilsenan levelled the game with just five minutes to go to the hooter. All the momentum was with the Breffni County then.

To their great credit, however, Michael Moyles’ charges never panicked. We held possession as we patiently waited for an opening to appear in the Cavan cover. Eventually it did with just over a minute to go. Tara Needham took full advantage of the opportunity, firing over from the top of the D to seal a one-point win for the Westerners. Here’s the winning score:

Today’s result means that, with two wins from two in Group A, Mayo are now through to the All-Ireland quarter-finals with a match to spare. That final group fixture is against Dublin next Saturday evening – it’s at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise where throw-in is 7.15pm – where group placings will be up for grabs. Whoever wins that one will get a more favourable quarter-final tie.

Match report from Deniese O’Flaherty for Ladies Football on today’s win over Cavan is here.

Yesterday, meanwhile, it was Cavan who came out on top against the county’s camogie team. This Premier Junior Championship fixture was played at Westport and the Breffni County won it on a scoreline of 4-7 to 1-6.

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Ladies into quarter-finals after Cavan scare