The Sean Faherty Championship final will take place this Sunday with a 4 pm throw in. It pits perennial contenders Cavan versus the 2013 Annie Kearney champions Kerry/Donegal. KD was also in the 2012 final where they lost to Na Fianna.
In the regular season contests Cavan had the upper hand between these sides with two victories but that can be pushed to the shelf when a county final starts. Both sides had intense semifinals with Cavan defeating Na Fianna 3-15 to 3-10 despite beginning the game in a 0-05 to zero hole while Kerry/Donegal got over a resolute Fermanagh side 4-12 to 2-13 where they built an early lead and withstood a furious comeback attempt by their opponents.
Cavan will start as favorites in the bookies eyes on the heels of their regular season win and their history in the competition. When one looks at the head to heads however where do we stand. At Goalie the NY born Nora Kilkenny has blossomed into a tremendous keeper with a brave streak and booming kickouts. On the other side is a Scotstown, Monaghan summer player Edel Corcoran who made a number of brilliant saves in the semi, close one but the edge is KD. The Cavan full back line has its anchor in Aoife O’Rourke who won a NY title in 2011, a brilliant marker, she leads by example. Caitlin Hynes has played in a number of positions for Cavan in the last few years with a lot of success. Niamh Britton is having a tremendous year with Amanda McGovern a young and upcoming player, the edge again goes to KD. The half back lines at both ends love to attack, Fiona Scally and Mairead Ruane had brilliant semis, their runs constantly put their opponents on the back foot. Mary Naughton is a towering figure in the middle who is aggressive in the tackle. Ellen Cleary for KD also loves to attack but is a very good defender also while Aoife Gill brings a mountain of experience to the side. It is advantage Cavan however in this area. Midfield will be a close battle.
Cavan have two Meath intercounty players in Viv McCormack and Kate Byrne. They are outstanding ball carriers and support players. They are meeting one of the best players to ever play in NY however in Cathriona Brady, who will be joined by Anita McKenna or possible Kelly Keating. Brady’s influence alone has this area at a tie. The Cavan half forward line is led by Sarah Murphy from Galway with Alisha Jordon on one wing and Rosie O’Reilly/Broderick with her record haul of County medals on the other. Murphy is a dangerous scoring player who is also a brilliant assister while Jordon takes the frees and drops deep to link with the defense. Kelly Roche may start at 11 for KD with Margaret Revins a very good player on the wing. Courtney Treanor is a threat on the ball also. It is a Cavan edge however. The full forward lines have two of the most lethal players to grace the park in any level or division. Marie Dargan must be the Queen from Kilkenny if it is King Henry Shefflin. She is that good. Her scoring prowess is unbelievable. If she hadn’t got hurt in last year’s final, they would have been going for two in a row. At the other end is Emma Clarke who after a year off is back to her best. As sidekicks, Kerry/Donegal has a brilliant Williamstown, Galway Girl in Eilish Gannon, stylish, aggressive on the run, a perfect foil with Dargan. The edge goes to KD.
In talking to people involved with the contest, KD Captain Cathriona Brady stated “we know that we will have a very difficult task against Cavan, we are the underdogs, the Annie Kearney win showed the ability of our home based players however and it gave the side a lot of confidence for the championship” Brady was only available for the closing minutes of the 2012 final. Rosie O’Reilly/Broderick is the Ladies Chairperson as well as joint manager of Cavan and a player. She suffered an injury in the semifinal but is confident of being available to start the final. “The doctor said a number of weeks, I said a game in two weeks’ remarked the wing forward. “We had two brilliant semifinals a week ago and the final promises to be another trilling encounter” added the Lavey, Cavan native.
It promises to be a game not to be missed; the possible starting lineups are as follows:
Cavan 1 Nora Kilkenny 2 Caitlin Hynes 3 Aoife O’Rourke 4 Shanna Hutton 5 Mairead Ruane 6 Mary Naughton 7 Fiona Scally 8 Kate Byrne 9 Viv McCormack 10 Alisha Jordon 11 Sarah Murphy 12 Rosie O’Reilly Broderick 13 Nicola McCullough 14 Emma Clarke 15 Caitlin McKenna
erry/Donegal 1 Edel Corcoran 2 Michelle Dowd 3 Naimh Britton 4 Amanda McGovern 5 Kerrilyn O’Keefe 6 Ellen Cleary 7 Aoife Gill 8 Cathriona Brady 9 Anita McKenna 10 Margaret Revins11 Kelly Roche 12 Courtney Treanor 13 Denise Dunnion 14 Marie Dargan 15 Eilish Gannon