Thursday 22 February 2018

Doonan stays cool to earn second bite

CAVAN 0-11, WESTMEATH 2-5, all-irEland ladies IFC final, Cian Murphy

AISLING Doonan summoned the spirit of Stephen Cluxton to keep Cavan's intermediate title hopes alive at Croke Park.

With the egg-timer almost run to empty it was the outstanding Breffni corner-forward who was given the task of landing a pressure kick from under the Cusack Stand.

And, a week on and not far from the spot of the heroics of Dublin goalkeeper Cluxton against Kerry, the Templeport hotshot was also equal to the task and forced yet another ladies final to a replay, with both games likely to be fixed for either October 8 or 9.

Cavan's refusal to accept defeat is what has set them apart in this campaign. They came from nine down to force extra-time against Leitrim and go on to win their semi-final. And when they lost a commanding four-point lead in a 10-minute burst that saw Westmeath hit 2-2, they looked in serious trouble.

But Cavan had an ace up their sleeve in Doonan, who gave a masterclass in finishing and kicked six fine scores, including one from a sideline in the first half. Cavan were well worth their 0-5 to 0-3 interval lead, with Doonan also unlucky to see a long-range free come off the post.

A more direct Cavan led 0-7 to 0-3 after 36 minutes and looked in total control. But Westmeath were thrown a lifeline in the 40th minute when a brilliant pass from Ruth Kearney released Johanna Maher to score a fine goal.

Westmeath substitute Karen Hegarty then justified her inclusion with a smartly taken point and then a poacher's goal in the 48th minute.

But it was then that Cavan's never-say-die spirit resurfaced and they cut the gap through Daena Clerkin and an Doonan free before Doonan again stepped up to a free in the 58th minute to level it and force a replay, which was the least Cavan deserved.

SCORERS -- Cavan: A Doonan 0-6 (3f), R Murphy, R Crowe, B Sheridan (f), D Clerkin, C Kearns 0-1 each. Westmeath: J Maher, K Hegarty 1-1 each, R Keary 0-2, E Morris 0-1.

CAVAN -- C McCutchon; C O'Reilly, G McGlade, C Kearns; R Murphy, P Crowe, D English; R Crowe, A Cornyn; R O'Keeffe, B Sheridan, E Costin-O'Connor; B Boylan, C O'Reilly, A Doonan. Subs: S Greene for Cornyn (h-t), G Smith for R O'Keeffe (45), D Clerkin for B Boylan (48), C Gray for Crowe (56), A Traynor for Costin-O'Connor (57).

WESTMEATH -- G Leahy; A Martin, G Kearney, T Durkan; K Boyce-Jordan, J Rogers, M Malone; MA Foley, F Claffey; E Finn, R Kearney, L Brennan; L Walsh, K Somers, J Maher. Subs: K Hegarty for Somers (h-t), E Morris for Brennan (43), A Brady for Boyce-Jordan (44). Ref -- G Corrigan

Irish Independent

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