Bronagh Sheridan spot on to end Cavan drought
Cavan 1-14 Tipperary 1-12 - All-Ireland Ladies IFC final
BRONAGH Sheridan's late penalty proved enough to secure Cavan's first championship success in 36 years.
The Breffni County, beaten intermediate finalists two years ago, defeated 2008 champions Tipperary in an entertaining final at Croke Park. In the process, Cavan won their first All-Ireland title since their one and only senior success back in 1977.
Sheridan slammed home the crucial penalty with five minutes left, after Tipperary goalkeeper Patricia Hickey was sin-binned for fouling player-of-the-match Aisling Doonan.
Tipp were forced into a reshuffle, with leading scorer Edel Hanley taken off and replaced by No 2 goalkeeper Helen Kennedy.
Cavan would finish the game with 14 players themselves, when Mona Sheridan received a late yellow.
The sides were level four times before Cavan found the crucial scores to get over the line by just two points.
The penalty was a dagger to Tipperary hearts and the pre-match underdogs can consider themselves unfortunate after squandering some good chances, particularly in the first half.
Tipp got off to a flying start and led by 0-3 to 0-0, before Cavan responded to haul themselves level. But the big score of the first half was provided by Tipp forward Mairead Morrissey, who crashed home a superb solo goal in the 13th minute.
That score opened up a 1-3 to 0-4 lead for Tipperary and at half-time, the beaten Munster finalists led by just a point, 1-7 to 0-9.
In their All-Ireland semi-final victory over Fermanagh, Tipp scored 1-2 in the final minute to stun the Ernesiders. But, despite the best efforts of Hanley and Sheelagh Carew, there would be no late heroics here.
Gillian O'Brien enjoyed a productive first half for Tipp, but Cavan were driven by the hurt of losing the final against Westmeath two years ago, following a replay.
This time, they would not be denied as their clinical forwards Sheridan and Doonan drove them to victory.
Cavan had the aid of a stiff breeze in the opening half, but Tipp made little of that and had carved out that narrow interval lead.
But Cavan, who blew a five-point lead against Westmeath in the 2011 final, were in no mood for more big-day misery and a landmark victory was secured with that priceless late penalty from Sheridan at the Hill 16 end.
Tipp cut the gap back to just two points with scores from Morrissey and Carew, but Cavan held on to claim the Mary Quinn Memorial Cup, and senior championship status for 2014.
The winners began with the breeze at their backs in the opening half, but Tipp were in no mood to serve as mere cannon fodder.
They roared out of the blocks and even when Cavan came back to nudge ahead, Tipp's response was emphatic as Morrissey steamed through for one of the finest goals seen in an All-Ireland final in recent years.
Tipp kicked on to lead by four points, 1-6 to 0-5, but Cavan responded with a strong period of dominance to significantly remain in the hunt at half-time.
Scorers – Cavan: B Sheridan 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-2fs), A Doonan 0-4 (3fs), G Smith 0-3, R Crowe, C O'Reilly, M Sheridan 0-1 each. Tipperary: E Hanley 0-5 (2fs), M Morrissey 1-1, G O'Brien 0-3, S Carew 0-2 (1f), C Walsh 0-1.
CAVAN: C Fay; P Lynch, G McGlade, J Moore; S Greene, A Cornyn, R Jordan; R Crowe, D English; C O'Reilly, R O'Keeffe, M Sheridan; G Smith, B Sheridan, A Doonan. Sub: C Smith for O'Reilly (40).
TIPPERARY: P Hickey; B Condon, S Lambert, R Kenneally; A O'Dwyer, C Carroll, B Ryan; J Grant, S Carew; L O'Shea, M Morrissey, C Walsh; N Lonergan, G O'Brien, E Hanley. Subs: K Hackett for Walsh (40), A McCarthy for Hackett (53), H Kennedy for Hanley (55).
Ref – G Chapman (Sligo)