Waterford 1-15 Cavan 1-13
Aileen Wall’s dramatic late goal stunned Cavan and sent Waterford through to a dream TG4 All-Ireland ladies SFC quarter-final clash with Dublin, writes Jackie Cahill.
Wall struck in the 63rd minute to book a place in the last eight for beaten Munster finalists Waterford.
That’s a step further than they’d gone in last year’s championship – and they’ll present stiff opposition to Mick Bohan’s in-form Dublin.
Waterford shocked Armagh in the preliminary round of the qualifiers last year, before falling to Kerry, but they claimed another notable scalp in Clane today.
Cavan's Aisling Doonan and Donna English carried the fight to Waterford in the second half – and the Ulster side looked like holding out after coming from three points down to lead late on.
Ahead by a point, 1-13 to 0-15, Doonan had a chance to stretch Cavan’s lead but Caoimhe McGrath plucked her free from underneath her own bar to keep Waterford alive.
And they would get their chance, as Wall somehow managed to squeeze her shot home after Lauren McGregor had done well to create the chance.
Wall wasn’t named to start but she came on to make a big impact, on a day when Waterford’s replacements played key roles.
At the end of a 40-minute first half, after a lengthy stoppage for treatment to Waterford’s experienced forward Gráinne Kenneally, the Déise led by 0-9 to 1-5.
But despite playing against the breeze from the start, it was Cavan who registered the game’s first two scores, captain Sinéad Greene carrying the ball from well inside her own half to open the scoring, before Claragh O’Reilly popped over a sixth-minute score.
But Waterford could have had the ball in the net in the very first minute, as Cavan goalkeeper Elaine Walsh did well to block Emma Murray’s close-range effort.
Waterford hit back to those early Cavan points with three in two minutes – Eimear Fennell, the excellent Michelle Ryan and Maria Delahunty on target.
But Cavan had the ball in the net in the tenth minute –Doonan on target with a penalty after Jessica Fitzgerald pulled down Aishling Sheridan, an offence that earned the Waterford goalkeeper a yellow card.
Waterford brought on Katie Hannon for Fitzgerald, with Róisín Tobin sacrificed for a ten-minute spell to get a specialist goalkeeper on the pitch.
Waterford did well with 14 players, holding their own and finding themselves just a point down when Fitzgerald and Tobin returned.
Cavan’s Donna English won a Waterford kick-out to put her side 1-3 to 0-3 clear but the Breffni girls were vulnerable on their own re-starts.
Pushing right up, Waterford notched three points in two minutes to level at 0-6 to 1-3 and from there, it was very much tit-for-tat fare until half-time.
Approaching the break, Waterford’s Katie Murray and Cavan’s Catriona Smith traded fisted points, before Aoife Murray’s second point had Pat Sullivan’s charges ahead by a point at the interval.
Neasa Byrd levelled things up for Cavan early in the second half but Waterford hit back with a real purple patch – Ryan hitting two point from play after a trademark Delahunty ’45.
But Doonan would have a massive say in second half, both in a scoring sense and with her ability to pull the strings for Cavan from centre forward.
Waterford managed to keep Cavan at bay until the 53rd minute, when Smith hauled the Breffni girls level at 1-12 to 0-15.
Doonan’s free pushed Cavan ahead but after another dropped short, and was brilliantly fielded by McGrath, Waterford still had hope.
And they struck late through Wall – to prolong a landmark season that saw them claim victories over Cork and Kerry in Munster.
Scorers for Waterford – M Delahunty 0-5 (2f, 1 45), M Ryan 0-4, A Wall 1-0, A Murray 0-3, E Fennell 0-2, K Murray 0-1.
Scorers for Cavan – A Doonan 1-6 (1-0 pen, 0-3f), D English & C Smith 0-2 each, S Greene, C O’Reilly & N Byrd 0-1 each.
Waterford – J Fitzgerald; M Dunford, C McGrath, K McGrath; D Ní hAodha, K McGrath, K Murray; M Wall, E Murray; R Tobin, G Kenneally, A Murray; E Fennell, M Delahunty, M Ryan.
Subs – K Hannon for Tobin (sin-bin – 10-20), A Wall for Tobin (34), R Casey for Ní hAodha (42), L McGregor for Fennell (56).
Cavan – E Walsh; R Doonan, A Cornyn, A Reilly; S Greene, L Fitzpatrick, S Lynch; D English, S O’Sullivan; M Sheridan, A Doonan, C Smith; A Sheridan, C O’Reilly, N Byrd.
Subs – G Smith for O’Reilly (42), S McKenna for Byrd (58).
Referee – J Murphy (Carlow).