Cavan Made the stronger start and in the first minute scored from a free. But Armagh’s Michelle Morgan soon levelled the scores with a well taken point from play. These young girls were standing toe to toe with their rivals. Soon great points from play by Joanne Mullen in the 4th minute and Rachael Merry in the 6th minute had put Armagh ahead. Cavan stepped up their pace and scored from a free taken by Roisin O Keefe in the 7th minute and she added to her tally again in the 9th minute to bring the sides level.
This was shaping up to be a great match with both sides going for every ball with everything they had. And the young Armagh girls were handling the bigger more physical Cavan side rightly until in the 14th minute the experiences corner forward Brid Boylan, Cavan’s vice-captain from the Castletara club side stepped her marker and netted the ball to put her county ahead by 3points.
Armagh fought back and in a game were every tackle mattered they stood shoulder to shoulder with Cavan. The 18th Minute saw Armagh’s Michelle Morgan point a well struck 45, to bring just 2 points between the sides. Both sets of back were worked flat out for the next 10 minutes with a few goal scoring opportunities for Armagh being denied as the more experienced Cavan sides clearing their lines in the last second. In the 28th min Cavan’s full forward Aisling Smith unable to get past the Armagh defence had to make do with a point. And in the 29th minute Cavan’s full back Jenny O Rouke came forward to score a free. In the final minute of the first half Armagh made a surge up the field and Joanne Mullen after a great solo run sent the sliothar over the crossbar to score a well taken easy point which closed the gap to just a goal between the sides at halftime.
The second half started as the first had ended with the Armagh girls getting stuck in and fighting back. Corner forward Rachael Merry pointed a great shot in the 2nd minute to give the girls a lift. And in the 5th minute Cavan’s Jenny O Rouke stepped forward to score a 45. This was tit for tat camogie with Armagh’s Nicola Woods in the 8th minute pointing a great ball from play. Cavan responded the following minute with a point from Roisin O Keefe. In the 12th min Brid Boylan again pointed for Cavan and Armagh’s Michelle Morgan responded with a brilliant point in the 15th minute of this second half.
The gathered supporters were getting great value for money with this game. And the atmosphere was electric in the stands with both sides giving their all in their bid to win this ulster title.
Claire Fitzpatrick netted the ball for Cavan in the 16th min which seemed to temporarily blow the wind out of the Armagh girl’s sails. But they picked themselves up and fought back much to the delight of their supporters.
Armagh were awarded a free in the 18th min and Rachael Merry sailed the ball over the bar to close the gap to 5.And she also netted the ball in the 20th minute to bring just 2 points between the sides. Everything was to play for in the last 10 minutes. Two more points in the 22ND and 25th minutes by the thorn in Armagh side Brid Boylan saw Cavan surge ahead once more and a goal by Grainne Power in the 28th minute seemed to seal the deal.
But Armagh were having none of it and a brilliant point by Michelle Morgan in the 29th minute brought their hopes alive again. Armagh worked hard and were rewarded when Caoimhe Shortt from Keady scored a brilliant goal to bring just a goal between the two sides. With 4 minutes injury time to be played everything was at stake. The Cavan backs battened down the hatches and they handled everything this brave young Armagh side threw at them. And boy they threw everything but the kitchen sink at them. Each and every Armagh girls dug deep and did everything they could to get within scoring distance but Cavan held strong. The brave young Armagh hearts were broken when the final whistle blew and Cavan had won but just 3points.
Cavan knew they had battled for this victory and were gracious winners as they thanked the Armagh girls for such a competitive match which in honesty could have went either way
Armagh County had two young club teams out playing in Casement Park during the half time break in the Ulster junior final. Ballymacnab’s u/12 team and Culloville’s u10/u12 girls played against their Antrim counterparts. These wee girls were a credit to their clubs. They were wonderful and they certainly rose to the occasion, getting stuck in displaying all their skills to the gathered spectators. To their delight these young players were awarded special medals to mark the occasion from Ulster chairperson Kathleen Woods. Congratulations to both clubs on the brilliant skills displayed by the players on the day. They all were a credit to all your hard work at underage development. And hopefully this will be the first of many times playing on Ulster finals day in Casement!