Cavan 3-19, Na Fianna 0-0
Cavan are one step away from taking their sixth straight Sean Faherty title after their convincing victory over Na Fianna in Sunday’s semifinal at the Rockland Psych Center.
They move on to play Mayo in the final on Aug. 6 at Gaelic Park in the Bronx.
Spectators expected a closer affair, but Cavan were sharp from the start and left no one in any doubt who was going forward to the final. It took both sides a while to settle into the game with wides on either side of the field. However, the Cavan scoring machine went into action and there was little the Na Fianna back line could do to keep the scores down.
Gillian Bennet had an excellent day as full forward with a personal tally of 1-8, with two of her points from frees taken off the ground from 50 yards out. Na Fianna tried hard but make hard work of their possession, sending balls into their forwards, who were marked tight by the Cavan backline, who weren’t giving an inch. Luck wasn’t on Na Fianna’s side, with the loss of Helena Campion midway through the half with a hand injury. Without Campion in the middle to win possession, Na Fianna fought a losing battle.
In the second half, Na Fianna’s luck didn’t turn when they were awarded a penalty early in the half which was sent wide by Mary McEvoy. A score at that time was a much-needed tonic for the side and as the half continued, Cavan marched on ahead with great passing through the middle from Orla Kirk, Mary Maguire, Nadine Doherty and Bennett.
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Na Fianna will no doubt be disappointed with the outcome as they have had better days. Grace Kelly, Caroline Conway, Yvonne Rabbitt, Mary McEvoy, Marie Curran and Jeanine Rynne did their best.
For Cavan it was a day when nothing went wrong. An all-around team effort with great play from Olive Wilson, Lynch, Kirk, Liz McVeigh, Rosie O’Reilly, Maguire and Doherty.
Cavan: Sharon Levins, Clare Bennett, Olive Lynch, Geraldine Flaherty, Louise Fox, Olive Wilson, Pauline Coleman, Orla Kirk, Deidre Feeney, Rosie O’Reilly, Mary Maguire, Liz McVeigh, Nadine Doherty, Gillian Bennett, Karen Shalvey.
Na Fianna: Cathy Galvin, Laura Gannon, Caroline Conway, Fiona Fallon, Mags Ryan, Michelle Davis, Maureen Tuohy, Yvonne Rabbitt, Grace Kelly, Helena Campion, Sabina Power, Marie Curran, Ann Ryan, Jeanine Rynne, Mary McEvoy.
Cavan scorers: Gillian Bennett 1-7, Rosie O’Reilly 0-3, Mary Maguire 1-2, Karen Shalvey 0-2, Nadine Doherty 1-4, Orla Kirk 0-1.
Players of the Game: Rosie O’Reilly (Cavan), Mary McEvoy (Na Fianna).
Mayo 5-12, Leitrim 1-10
This was another game that was expected to be a much closer encounter but in the end it was the hot scoring of the Mayo forwards that put this game away, leaving no doubt that Mayo intend to put their hands on the Sean Faherty Cup this year.
With forwards of the caliber of Joanne McKenna, Denise Duignan, Shauna McGirr, and Nollaig Cleary they will be hard to stop. For Leitrim it was a disappointing end to their season but in true spirit they fought long and hard and in the end the deficit just became too much to overcome.
Mayo was the first to take the initiative and even looked destined to run away with the victory. A blistering start and accurate passing saw two quick goals by Joanne McKenna and Shauna McGirr that put them in a comfortable lead.
McGirr was very impressive in the half-forward position and caused endless problems for the Leitrim defense that had their hands full all afternoon.
However, the heart of any team is their ability to fight their way back and once Leitrim got the opening point by Eibhlish Dineen they were back in sync. Moving the welcome return of injured player Colette McElligott to the middle of the field paid off and set up the Moria Grogan goal that soon followed. With Mags Dineen and Clare Tracey doing some hard-earned the Leitrim forwards were getting some good balls, which they made every use off.
Now back within one, a 14-yard free awarded to Mayo saw McKenna hit a lofty shot that sailed to the left of goalkeeper Deirdre Maher and into the back of the net. Perhaps a mental mistake by Leitrim not to have lined the goals for this one. Mayo dominated the closing minutes of the half with continued damage by the ever-dangerous Dunnion and some nice running by Cleary to put seven between the two.
As the second half began the question was could Leitrim come back again. The answer was no, as Mayo didn’t give them the chance. The consistent effort to feed Dunnion the ball had its result but it must be said that Anne Holland tried her best to control this dangerous forward. With Mayo in the drivers seat the crushing blow came when the McKenna sisters got into the act, with Joanne putting another one pass Maher in goal. Mayo kept up the pressure, which saw them race into a 17-point lead and comfortably in control of the game. The fact that Leitrim answered with points from Maureen O’Driscoll and their best forward of the afternoon Grogan was of little solace to the Leitrim Ladies, who were hoping for a much better result on the day.
Mayo can be proud of this win, they were by far the superior team. While all 15 played well and it was indeed a team effort, no one can take it away from the forwards. They were just outstanding. In the middle Sharon Gallagher impressed while Fiona Ward and Louise McMahon were the pick of the backline.
Leitrim simply ran out of steam in the second half and were never able to contain Mayo. Holland, McElligott and Paula Burke defended well, midfield faded as time went on, and up front they were best served by O’Driscoll and Grogan.
Mayo scorers: Joanne McKenna 3-2, Denise Dunnion 0-7, Shauna McGirr 1-0, Nollaig Cleary 1-3.
Leitrim: Moira Grogan 1-5, Eibhlish Dineen 0-3, Maureen O’Driscoll 0-1, Ann McMorrow 0-1.
Players of the Game: Nollaig Cleary (Mayo), Moira Grogan (Leitrim).