The Breffni County, beaten finalists two years ago having blown a five-point lead against Westmeath in the replay, defeated 2008 champions Tipperary in an entertaining final at GAA HQ.
In the process, Cavan won their first All-Ireland adult title since their only senior success back in 1977. Sheridan slammed home a crucial penalty goal with five minutes left, after Tipperary goalkeeper Patricia Hickey was sin-binned for a foul on player of the match Aisling Doonan.
Tipp were forced into a reshuffle, with leading scorer Edel Hanley taken off and replaced by substitute netminder Helen Kennedy.
Cavan would finish the game with 14 players themselves, when Mona Sheridan received a late yellow card. 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 still bagged the big score of that opening half, as Mairead Morrissey crashed home a superb solo goal that ensured the beaten Munster finalists led by just a point, 1-7 to 0-9 at half-time.
Scorers for Cavan: B Sheridan 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-2f), A Doonan 0-4 (3f), G Smith 0-3, R Crowe, C O’Reilly & M Sheridan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Tipperary: E Hanley 0-5 (2f), 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).
Referee: G Chapman (Sligo).