It was a huge week for captain Nicola Rogan and manager Dessie Reilly of the Cavan football club. Their side was battling to get to the final of the Annie Kearney Cup and they trailed by nine points at the break.
What was really worrying them is where will everyone from Ireland stay when they arrive this week for their wedding on Friday! Congratulations to both, and we know that Friday will be a super occasion.
But hold on -- what about that nine point problem? Cavan left it late, but with 18 minutes gone they finally drew level with an Alisha Jordon point.
Who better to put them ahead for the first time in the game moments later than the bride to be Rogan. She popped up off the bench to fire in the goal that gave them the lead for the first time and followed it with another 1-2 to seal the win.
The first half was all Kerry/Donegal however. In the first 13 minutes they had 2-1 on the scoreboard. The goals were both long range shots that found the roof of the net, with Denise Dunnion and Catherina Brady the scorers.
Jordon did pull back a point for Cavan, but two excellent saves by Denise Maher from Nicola King and Jordon kept K/D in front.
Caitlin Hynes did grab Cavan’s first goal when she was set free by Rosie O’Reilly Broderick, who also had a goal chance of her own that was stopped by Maher.
It was all K/D in the last 10 minutes, however, as they added six points to their total. Dunnion had three in the mix while Brady and Aoife Gibson with an excellent score had the others. It left the side sitting on a 2-7 to 1-1 halftime lead.
The second half turned the game on its head. After the lackluster first period, Cavan completely changed their form with a battling display.
They had two points to open the half and created their second goal with a full field move that originated in the full back line with Ashley Callery. It finished with Catriona Rafferty firing the ball to the back of the net.
K/D had two wides in their only attacks of significance before Cavan had their next major. Linda
McKeon won the ball on the left wing and sauntered for goal. She was fouled in the penalty area and Jordon stepped up and slotted the ball to the net.
When Jordon fired a point over the lathe from distance in the 18th minute the sides were level. This was also the beginning of the Rogan show.
The side’s captain arrived off the bench and almost immediately had the ball in the back of the net when she took a pass from McKeon and capitalized.
She followed with two points and then took a King pass and soloed soccer style before kicking low to the net. It gave the side a 5-6 to 2-7 lead with five minutes left on the clock.
Brady did have a point for K/D a minute later, but a mistake at the back allowed Cavan to get their sixth goal from Hynes and the impossible recovery was complete.
Cavan and Na Fianna will now face off on June 5 in the Annie Kearney final.
It was a night and day performance for Cavan. Ashley Callery, Caroline McBrien -- who had a brilliant day on a tough opponent -- and Paula Lally did very well at the back. Kelly Donaghue and Linda McKeon both had very important moments in the middle.
Alisha Jordon is a scoring and ball carrying threat, while Nicola King, Caitlin Hynes and super sub
Nicola Rogan were tremendous up front, particularly in the second half.
Kerry/Donegal will ask what the heck happened. They had a win at their fingertips.
Denise Maher was outstanding with at least three top class stops. Aoife Gibson, Louise McMahon, Noelle Brophy and Catriona Brady were others to shine.
Cavan: 1 Mairead Hynes, 2 Katie Kilkenny, 3 Ashley Callery, 4 Caroline McBrien, 5 Bridget Mulligan, 6 Paula Lally, 7 Mary Maguire, 8 Linda McKeon (0-1), 9 Kelly Donaghue, 10 Catherina Rafferty (1-0), 11 Alisha Jordon (1-3), 12 Rosie O’Reilly Broderick, 13 Nora Kilkenny, 14 Caitlin Hynes (2-0), 15 Nicola King. Subs: Nicola Rogan (2-2).
Kerry/Donegal: 1 Denise Maher, 2 Kathleen Hickey, 3 Una Burke, 4 Aoife Gibson (0-1), 5 Anita McKenna, 6 Louise McMahon, 7 Niamh Britton, 8 Noelle Brophy, 9 Michelle McVann, 10 Loretta Duffy, 11 Catherina Brady (1-3), 12 Amanda McGovern, 13 Denise Dunnion (1-4), 14 Ashley Callery, 15 Geraldine Doheney.
Player of the game: Nicola Rogan (Cavan).
Referee: Dean O’Connor.