The rematch of a week ago in the Ladies division was a lot different at the end, but for the first half it again was a close contest. A couple of crucial stops by Cava keeper Nora Kilkenny allowed her side to stay in front by a small margin before the flood gates finally opened and a brace of goals just after halftime put distance between the sides.
Kerry/Donegal had the opening point of the game from Cathriona Brady, but it was to be their only lead of the hour. It arrived after five minutes, but Cava were a further nine minutes battling to get back on terms.
Both defenses were excellent in this time, with Deirdre Foley and Aoife O’Rourke marshalling their sides. Emma Clarke finally got the winners on the board when Rosie O’Reilly Broderick set her free.
Clarke quickly followed it with a point before Theresa Marron had their third on 18 minutes. Ellis Ward had a point in reply on the run, but Caitlin Hynes found the back of the net when she finished a five player move that started with a timely Linda McKeon interception.
After Clarke made it 1-4 to 0-3, Kerry/Donegal had their best period when they added three points to their total with Denise Dunnion book ending a Brady effort. They also had a clear goal chance, but Kilkenny made a brilliant stop on a Dunnion shot.
Their momentum was quelled, however, as Cavan had the last three points before the break. Karen Feeney had the first, then Marron had the last two to again put five points between the sides, 1-7 to 0-5.
Kerry/Donegal had a wonderful start to the second half when they took the throw in, moved the ball forward and Brady crashed it to the net. It looked seriously promising.
It was all turned on its head, however, when Cavan responded with a pair of goals in the next three minutes. Nicola King was set up by Feeney for the first, then Clarke won the ball on the sideline adjacent to the 25-yard line. She took off on a long solo run and crashed the ball to the net at its crescendo.
Cavan followed with four of the next six points, with Marron getting three of them. After Dunnion had her third of the day to make the scoreline 3-11 to 1-8, Cavan finished the game off with another two goal burst.
Full forward line partners Clarke and King were again the snipers, but the spade work was done by Alisha Jordon and Marron again. Both sides added points before the end but they were strictly cosmetic.
For Cavan, Nora Kilkenny was outstanding. When the game was in the balance she made a couple of excellent stops. Paula Lally and Aoife O’Rourke, who was close to player of the game honors, also excelled at the back, Lally after she returned from a shoulder injury.
McKeon and Jordon controlled the middle, while Theresa Marron, Nicola King, who was tremendous, Emma Clarke and Karen Feeney all had important contributions.
Niamh Britton, Kelly Roche, Cathriona Brady, and Niamh Cunningham were Kerry/Donegal’s most prominent.
Cavan: 1 Nora Kilkenny, 2 Paula Lally, 3 Ashley Callery, 4 Nicola Reilly, 5 Aimee Gomez, 6 Aoife O’Rourke, 7 Katie Kilkenny, 8 Linda McKeon, 9 Alisha Jordon, 10 Karen Feeney (0-1), 11 Theresa Marron (0-7), 12 Caitlin Hynes (1-0), 13 Nicola King (2-0), 14 Emma Clarke (2-3), 15 Rosie O’Reilly Broderick. Subs: Cathriona Rafferty, Bridget Mulligan Tina Lenihan.
Kerry/Donegal: 1 Deirdre Maher, 2 Niamh Britton, 3 Louise Lilly, 4 Aoife Gibson, 5 Una Burke, 6 Deirdre Foley, 7 Michelle McVann, 8 Kelly Roche (0-1), 9 Cathriona Brady (1-2), 10 Amanda McGovern, 11 Elish Ward (0-1), 12 Anita McKenna, 13 Denise Dunnion (0-3), 14 Niamh Cunningham (0-1), 15 Noelle Brophy. Subs: Cathleen Enright, Sarah Gleason, Ashley Collins, Cathriona Doherty.
Player of the game: Nora Kilkenny (Cavan).
Referee: Jimmy Naughton.
Happy Earth Day! Ireland sure looks gorgeous from outer space