Dublin’s Under-14 side lost their All-Ireland final to Cavan in Dunleer on Saturday as the influential Shannon Russell’s 2-2 wasn’t quite enough to see the Dubs to a first title in the age group since 2007.
Cavan’s consistent accuracy turned out to be key. The Ulster side led by five points at the midway mark in the first half with Gemma Beatty’s frees on point as Dublin struggled to build into the game.
Cavan hit their stride early. The risk of a runaway victory for the Ulster ladies didn’t hold for long, though, as Dublin hit back with Sinead Daly briefly giving the Dubs the lead early on, before Cavan hit the net through Ellyanna Madden seven minutes in. Dublin, however, were creating more chances.
Russell was growing into the game, but Dublin’s wides were starting to cost them while Cavan were metronomically accurate at the other end. They hit only one wide late in the first half, compared to Dublin’s seven over the course of the opening period.
Nevertheless, Dublin were competitive on the scoreboard right up until just before half-time, when Letiza Sheridan smashed a second for Cavan, giving the northern county a 2-4 to 0-5 half time lead that would not have impressed boss Shay O’Reilly given Dublin’s slightly better share of the attacking chances.
Russell really made her mark in the second half with the corner forward threatening to overwhelm Cavan as she went for the killer blow.
The Erin’s Isle player – star of the side’s recent feile victory – slammed the woodwork twice, before eventually finding the net. A point shortly afterwards had Dublin back to level terms.
With the momentum seemingly with the Dubs, however, Cavan had their best moment, with Bonnie McKiernan and Sheridan devastating, hitting goals from consecutive plays to pull Cavan away.
Russell and Ava Lambe did their best to pull things back for the girls in blue, with Russell grabbing another goal, it wasn’t to be. Cavan came out on top thanks to their goal scoring prowess, by 4-6 to 2-9.