Cavan 1-15 Meath 0-13
Player of the Match Claragh O’Reilly scored 0-7 as Cavan dumped neighbours Meath out of the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship this evening.
O’Reilly was the star turn as the Breffni ladies ran out deserving five-point winners in Navan.
O’Reilly’s match-winning haul included five pointed frees while full-forward Geraldine Sheridan added 1-2, including a crucial first half goal at Pairc Tailteann.
The winners led by seven points during the second half, 1-13 to 0-9, as they took the game to the hosts.
While Cavan’s attack clicked nicely, goalkeeper Caron Foy was also in excellent form in Meath's back yard.
The home side’s misery was complete two minutes from time when Katie O’Brien, who scored 0-3, was sin-binned for a challenge on Ailish Cornyn.
O’Brien dragged Cornyn to the ground but the tackle was borne out of sheer frustration as Meath tamely bowed out of the All-Ireland series, having suffered an agonising Leinster semi-final defeat to Laois.
Cavan were 1-6 to 0-7 clear at half-time and Sheridan’s goal was a crucial difference between the sides.
Beth Farrelly-Magee had two sights of goal before Sheridan struck for the goal that Cavan’s efforts deserved in this local derby.
At the other end, Meath had a glorious chance of their own in the eighth minute but after luckless O’Brien was hauled down, the St Ultan’s star saw her resultant penalty well saved by Foy.
There was little to separate the sides in a first half that was level five times before Sheridan’s goal.
But on the balance of play, last year’s All-Ireland intermediate champions Cavan just about deserved their half-time lead.
Both teams had a good spread of scorers in the opening half, with five Cavan and five Meath players on target.
Bridgetta Lynch was on fire for Meath early on, hitting three points from play by the 14th minute, but the Oldcastle player limped off injured in the second half.
Meath’s other two inside forwards, Maedh Downey and Jenny Rispin, were also substituted after getting little change from a packed Cavan defence.
Wing-back Emma Troy kept going right until the end for Meath but Cavan were full value for a noteworthy win as they provided evidence to suggest that the leap from intermediate to senior championship football need not be a daunting one.
Cavan’s reward for this win, ironically, is a clash with Laois in round 2 of the qualifiers.
Scorers for Cavan: C O’Reilly 0-7 (5f), G Sheridan 1-2, R O’Keeffe 0-2, L Fitzpatrick, M Sheridan, S King & C Farrell 0-1 each.
Scorers for Meath: B Lynch & K O’Brien (1f), 0-3 each, E Troy & S Bennett 0-2 each, A Davis, M Downey & S Coyle 0-1 each.
CAVAN: C Foy; E McDermott, G McGlade, J Moore; R Jordan, A Cornyn, L Fitzpatrick; R Crowe, M Sheridan; C O’Reilly, R O’Keeffe, B Farrelly-Magee; S King, G Sheridan, C Farrell.
Subs: A Sheridan for Farrelly-Magee (54), S Reilly for King (58).
MEATH: S Powderley; A Murray, J Scanlon, O Duff; E Plunkett, M Peel, E Troy; S Bennett, M O’Shaughnessy; S Ennis, K O’Brien, A Davis; M Downey, B Lynch, J Rispin.
Subs: L Bagnall for Scanlon (37), E Davis for Downey (38), S Coyle for Rispin (43), S Cleary for Lynch (47), H Regan for A Davis (53).
Referee: P Swift (Monaghan).
Cavan v Laois
Tyrone v Monaghan
Westmeath v Mayo
Donegal v Kerry