Ladies: Cavan's McCabe backs the Déise to put it up to the Jackies
31 July 2017
Cavan ladies manager Aidan McCabe.
By Jackie Cahill in Clane
Cavan boss Aidan McCabe insists that Waterford can trouble favourites Dublin in the TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football championship quarter-final on August 12.
McCabe was left devastated by a two-point loss to Waterford in Clane on Saturday – as Aileen Wall struck a winning goal in the third minute of stoppage time.
Waterford’s remarkable season continues and having taken down Cork and Kerry in the Munster round-robin series, the Déise have now added another big scalp.
Pat Sullivan’s charges bounced back from their narrow Munster final defeat against Kerry to go a step further in the All-Ireland series than last year.
Sullivan smiled: “The experts will say we’ll turn up and the script is written – Dublin are in a semi-final versus Kerry. We’ll have a look at it and see how we go.”
With Aisling Doonan on fire for Cavan, the Breffni County produced a superb second half display, and came from three points down to lead late on.
Having found themselves 1-7 to 0-13 adrift with 23 minutes left, Cavan gained a firm stranglehold on proceedings and Waterford looked like going out.
But in the 59th minute, Caoimhe McGrath caught Doonan’s free from underneath her own crossbar and Waterford stayed alive.
And with time almost up, substitute Wall squeezed a shot inside Elaine Walsh’s near post to secure a dramatic win.
McCabe reflected: “That just happens. We asked at half-time what were they willing to do to get by this game and get into a quarter-final?
“The answer was there, they gave absolutely everything in that second half especially.
“It was all one-way traffic in the last seven or eight minutes – we had the chances to go two up and three up on top of it but we didn’t get any further.
“Waterford took their chance very well, they’re a very good team and well capable of not just giving Dublin a rattle.
“They’ve beaten big teams already and they’ll going in full of confidence into that quarter-final.”
At half-time, Waterford did lead by a point, 0-9 to 1-5, despite losing goalkeeper Jessica Fitzgerald to the sin-bin early on.
Fitzgerald hauled down Aishling Sheridan to concede a ninth-minute penalty and Doonan slotted home for Cavan’s only goal.
In that first half, the sides were level four times, with Maria Delahunty, Aoife Murray and Elaine Fennell causing problems for Cavan up front.
In the second period, Michelle Ryan rolled back the years with a stunning performance and that late Wall goal got Waterford over the line.
Sullivan said: “The turning of the game was Caoimhe McGrath’s catch. It was a certain point but she caught it under her own bar. If that went over, it was curtains.”
Hailing Wall’s clinical finish, Sullivan added: “One place the ball could go, she put it there but she had the composure.
“She stopped for a second, just to pick the spot and she placed it lovely.
“But I do think it was the work down the field that created that, Caoimhe McGrath and Rebecca Casey’s move up the field, and Aileen’s vision to pick that spot.”
And Sullivan was pleased with the response of his players, as they picked themselves up following Munster final heartache.
He said: “The bounce back factor was always going to be a factor. They were hurt, most definitely. We know on the day we didn’t play to our ability.
“We came up against a very good Kerry team, take nothing away from them, deserving Munster champions, but with three minutes to go, we could have been Munster champions as well.
“We hit the bar, hit the upright, we had enough chances to put us in the driving seat but that comes with experience. They went down the field, won the kick-out and curtains from there.”
This time, Waterford did have the nous to close a game out, and now they’ll lock horns with Dublin, the reigning Leinster champions and strong All-Ireland contenders.