by Gerry Buckley
Cavan secured their place in the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship again next year with a decisive win against Kinnegad this afternoon, while the Lake County ladies now face a winner-takes-all Relegation Final with Monaghan next weekend.
Cavan, who had the aid of a slight breeze in the first half, raced into a four-point lead by the seventh minute, with two of the points coming from Donna English. However, a well-taken goal in the eighth minute by Grace Halligan brought Westmeath back into contention.
Cavan led by a point, 0-6 to 1-2, when Ciara Finnegan found the net in the 16th minute after Shauna Lynch and Aishling Sheridan had been denied by Lauren McCormack and the crossbar respectively.
A terrific goal from Lauren McVeety put the Breffni ladies firmly in control and Westmeath’s woes were compounded when team captain Fiona Claffey was yellow-carded on the half-hour mark. Cavan led by 2-8 to 1-3 at the interval and they never looked like they would be overturned in the second-half, despite a yellow card for Shauna Lynch midway through the second-half.
The gap was eight points when Cavan sub Geraldine Sheridan was fouled close to the Westmeath goalmouth and Aishling Maguire coolly slotted home the resultant penalty in the 57th minute. Rachel Doonan was yellow-carded with a matter of seconds remaining, but the result was secured at that stage and Cavan could celebrate.
Scorers – Cavan: A Maguire 1-5 (1-0pen, 4f), L McVeety 1-1, D English 0-3, C Finnegan 1-0, A Sheridan 0-2, S Lynch 0-1.
Westmeath: L Slevin 0-4 (4f), G Halligan 1-0, A Jones 0-1, N Feery 0-1, S Dolan 0-1.
Cavan: R O’Reilly; J Moore, R Doonan, S Reilly; S Greene, M Sheridan, S Lynch; N Byrd, S O’Sullivan; L McVeety, D English, C Finnegan; A Maguire, A Sheridan, L Fitzpatrick. Subs: G Sheridan for Finnegan (53), A Gilsenan for McVeety (57), N Daly for Maguire (59), N Keenaghan for Moore (60), K McIntyre for Fitzpatrick (60+4).
Westmeath: L McCormack; R Dillon, J Rogers, L Power; K Boyce Jordan, A Dolan, F Coyle; J Maher, MA Foley; G Halligan, A Jones, N Feery; L Slevin, F Claffey, V Carr. Subs: S Dolan for Halligan (36), K McDermott for Foley (43), L Brennan for Boyce Jordan (47, inj), J Hennessy for A Dolan (54), C Kelly for Maher (59).
Ref: Kevin Corcoran (Mayo).