by Ger McCarthy
Cork and Cavan delivered a marvellous All-Ireland U16 A final that ended in a draw at Bretland Park in Clara, Co. Offaly, in a game which was a superb advert for ladies football and which was thoroughly enjoyed by the huge attendance.
Neither side deserved to lose on a day. Éabha O’Donovan starred for the Rebels with eight points. Mia Lynch, who finished with six points, was equally influential for the Ulster champions.
Four points was the biggest margin throughout a evenly-contested All-Ireland final in which the large attendance was treated to a thrilling finale.
Kate Fegan’s superbly finished goal looked to have given Cavan the edge as they led deep into injury-time. But full credit to Cork who conjured up an injury-time leveller from O’Donovan.
The first half belonged to Cork who capitalised on five Cavan wides and built up a 0-6 to 0-3 interval advantage in heavy rain.
Cavan had the better of the third quarter however. Katie O’Meara (two) andLynch (two frees) moved the Ulster champions within two points of their opponents at 0-9 to 0-7 with ten minutes remaining.
Another O’Donovan free made it a three-point game five minutes from full time but once again Cavan responded as Lynch scored her sixth point from a free.
Then, a flowing Cavan move ended with Fegan brilliantly firing into the bottom corner to make it 1-8 to 0-10.
Cork were not finished and, amid a welter of excitement, O’Donovan and Sheridan exchanged frees.
It looked to be Cavan’s day until the game’s final attack, five minutes into injury-time, ended with O’Donovan’s eighth score to force a replay.
The replay, provisionally schedule for Friday, July 28, looks set to be another cracking contest between two excellent sides.
Scorers - Cork: É O’Donovan 0-8 (0-4f), L Walsh 0-3 (0-1f), C Horgan 0-1.
Cavan: M Lynch 0-6 (0-3f), K Fegan 1-0, K O’Meara 0-2, E Sheridan 0-1f.
CORK: A Toye; É Walsh, A Tobin, A O’Sullivan (captain); R Breen, M McRea, M Barrett; J Foskin, K McEntee; C Murphy, É O’Donovan, C Horgan; É Nagle, L Walsh, K Carey. Subs: E Burns for C Horgan (ht), A Sheehan for É Nagle (53), K Ferns for C Murphy (56), S Barry for A O’Sullivan (60).
CAVAN: F Higgins; C Hegarty, C McDonnell, K Grigerenko; A Kennedy, K M Reilly (captain), C Crowe; E Mussi, L Miney; R Gilmartin, E Sheridan, K Fegan; M Lynch, C Clarke, K O’Meara. Subs: K Cahill for C Hegarty (2, inj), N McCaffery for R Gilmartin (37), H McPhillips for K O’Meara (51).
Referee: Paul McCaughey (Westmeath).Tweet