The second Ladies game on Saturday’s schedule was a far closer affair. The wind had picked up at this point which made it a real game of two halves.
Cavan used the elements and good forward play to jump into a 2-9 to 1-2 halftime lead, but Kerry/Donegal fought their way back to get within two kicks of the ball before time ran out on their comeback attempt.
Cavan had a wonderful start to the encounter with a scoring flurry of 2-3 in the first eight minutes. Emma Clarke had the first goal while Theresa Marron worked with Karen Feeney to annex the second.
Kerry/Donegal came in to the contest and against the wind but had four wides between the 9th and 12th minutes that really hurt their chances. They finally got on the mark when Catriona Brady hit the post on 15 minutes, and Niamh Cunningham was first to react to the ball for a point.
Following a three point tally from Marron, Rosie O’Reilly Broderick and Alisha Jordon, Kerry/Donegal had their second score. This one was again from the same player but far more valuable.
A through ball to Cunningham from Kelly Roche left her with a lot of work to do on the left wing. She got around her defender and headed for goal. Cunningham did not stop until she had deposited the ball in the back of the net.
Cavan did react in a positive manner to the wake up call. They were again able to put a three point salvo on the board. Marron had the two book ends while Karen Feeney had the third after a short solo run.
Cunningham concluded the scoring in the first 30 minutes with a point, but it left her side with a lot of work to do behind by 10 points.
Cavan added to their total with the first three points of the second half, and also had a tremendous goal chance when Marron crashed a wicked drive of the crossbar.
Kerry/Donegal slowly started to come back into the game. They had five of the next seven points, with Elish Ward showing her free taking skills by punishing any indiscretions in the back line.
Feeney did have a Cavan score with 17 minutes gone to leave the difference 2-15 to 1-7, but it was to be their last score of the hour.
Intensive pressure by Kerry/Donegal created a host of chances. They had two points from Denise Dunnion and Ward in the 18th and 19th minutes but were denied further opportunity’s by brilliant play at the back by Caroline McBrian and Aoife Toner.
Marron was also coming deep to win kick outs which helped to quell the tide. Ward with a further two points -- the first a free, the second from play -- narrowed the gap further, and when Dunnion fired a free over with two minutes on the clock it made for a very interesting finish.
The goal that they so badly needed never arrived, however, and Cavan were able to hold on for a crucial league win.
Cavan have a balanced side, with Nora Kilkenny doing very well in goal and Caroline McBrian, Aoife Toner and Nicola O’Reilly doing a lot of quality work at the back. Alisha Jordon was excellent in the middle while Karen Feeney had four very important points.
Theresa Marron and Emma Clarke are a very strong middle line with a contribution of 2-7 between them. Marron also did a lot of quality foraging in the second half to help her back line out.
Kerry/Donegal would love to have had a few extra minutes. It would have been exciting. Dee Maher is a very good keeper, Niamh Britton and Deirdre Foley were strong in the full back line, Foley did well on Clarke. Una Burke, Catriona Brady, who covered a lot of ground, Niamh Cunningham and the brilliant Elish Ward were others who shone.
Cavan: 1 Nora Kilkenny, 2 Bridget Mulligan, 3 Ashley Callery, 4 Caroline McBrian, 5 Paula Lally, 6 Aoife Toner, 7 Nicola O’Reilly, 8 Linda McKeon (0-1), 9 Alisha Jordon (0-1), 10 Rosie O’Reilly Broderick (0-1), 11 Theresa Marron (1-3), 12 Karen Feeney (0-4), 13 Nicola King (0-1), 14 Emma Clarke (1-4), 15 Catherina Rafferty. Subs: Aimee Gomez, Justine Clifford, Katie Kilkenny, Shauna Coyne.
Kerry/Donegal: 1 Deirdre Maher, 2 Niamh Britton, 3 Deirdre Foley, 4 Aoife Gibson, 5 Una Burke, 6 Louise Lilly, 7 Amanda McGovern, 8 Michelle McVann, 9 Catriona Brady, 10 Ashley Brophy, 11 Kelly Roche (0-1), 12 Anita McKenna, 13 Denise Dunnion (0-2), 14 Niamh Cunningham (1-2), 15 Elish Ward (0-7). Subs: Cathleen Enright, Sarah Gleason, Ashley Collins, Catriona Doherty.
Player of the game: Caroline McBrian (Cavan).
Referee: Dean O’Connor.