Match Report :- Emma Duffy
Down by two points at half-time and looking like they may suffer their second consecutive loss, Cavan ladies pulled off an impressive comeback to beat Clare and kick start their league campaign on Sunday.
Templeport’s Aisling Doonan shone on her home pitch, and was a major contributing factor to the victory as Cavan got their first points on the board in 2017.
With two changes to last weekend’s side who were narrowly defeated by Westmeath, Aidan McCabe’s charges took to the field all guns blazing and Killygarry’s Grainne Smith had the ball in the back of the net within three minutes.
Clare were quicker out of the blocks before Smith’s goal cancelled out their lead however, with two points from play – one from Ciara Hickey and the other coming from star forward Niamh O’Dea.
O’Dea stole the lead back for Clare on the 10 minute mark with a goal of her own, getting on the end of a free kick to punch the ball inevitably past Elaine Walsh. A series of points at either end from Aisling Doonan and Clare forward Grainne Nolan kept the scoreboard ticking over before Kingscourt’s Amy Rooney reduced the deficit to two points.
The battle between standout forwards Doonan and O’Dea continued right up to half-time, as they exchanged scores leaving it 1-6 to 1-4 in favour of The Banner at the break.
On the restart, Clare again started the brighter of the two sides with Nolan slotting over her third, before substitute Claragh O’Reilly pointed and Doonan converted two frees to level the game.
Cavan were beginning to tighten their grip on the action, while the war of attrition between Doonan and O’Dea continued, both raising white flags from play.
Rooney stepped up to the mark when it mattered most, splitting the posts with her effort as the home side edged in front with seven minutes of normal time left on the clock.
McCabe’s charges dug deep from one to 15, along with the substitutes introduced, as they made every defensive effort to keep their one-point lead. They then went one better in overtime, with Aishling Sheridan extending the difference to two while ensuring her side took home the total points on offer.
Cavan’s next assignment comes in the form of a trip to Kildare on 19 February.
CAVAN: Elaine Walsh; Rachael Doonan, Ailish Cornyn, Shauna Lynch; Amy Wharton, Laura Fitzpatrick, Sheila Reilly; Sinead McKenna, Sinead O’Sullivan; Caitriona Smith, Amy Rooney (0-2), Beth Farrelly Magee; Rachel Talbot, Grainne Smith (1-0), Aisling Doonan (0-6, 2f).
Subs (in full): Holly Lynch, Caoimhe McDermott, Gemma McLoughlin, Laura McKiernan, Lauren Gilsenan, Racheal Jordan, Mona Sheridan, Aine Reilly, Aishling Sheridan (0-1), Andrea O’Reilly, Claragh O’Reilly (0-1), Geraldine Smith, Keely Doonan, Sarah Murray, Sinead McGovern.