A goal in the 63rd minute from Cavan wing-forward Sarah Murray saw the hosts snatch a draw following an entertaining clash at Kingspan Breffni Park’s 3G pitch on Sunday.
Both teams had gone into the contest with 100 per cent records and with semi-finals of the league to be contested, may yet be facing one another in the not too distant future.
Donegal took the lead in the first minute through Yvonne McMonagle and, barring a short spell in the first half, kept their noses in front all the way until Murray’s late, late strike saw the Breffni girls maintain their unbeaten run.
There was confusion at the final whistle as some Donegal mentors believed their side were actually a point in front but referee Brendan Rice stood over the result and this reporter also had the sides level.
Donegal were two up after a point from Karen Guthrie but Cavan nipped in front when Roisin O’Keeffe reacted quickest to poke home after the outstanding Donna English’s shot dropped on to the crossbar.
Cloughaneely’s Roisín Curran levelled matters before Amber Barrett nudged Donegal in front with a sweet point from the right with nine minutes played.
Catriona Smith and Geraldine Sheridan responded for Cavan but, in the 18th minute, the visitors put some daylight between the teams when Guthrie forced a turnover around the middle and laid off to Amber Barrett, who smashed the ball to the net for Davy McLaughlin’s team.
Back came Cavan with a free from Aisling Doonan but Donegal, with the aid of the breeze, were driving forward and they landed a terrific goal when captain Katy Herron picked out McMonagle with a sweet pass and the forward coolly stroked home.
Better was to follow when Herron slotted over to make it 2-5 to 1-3 but Cavan finished the half strongly with points from English, O’Keeffe (free) and Catriona Smith to go in two down, 2-5 to 1-6.
They carried their momentum into the second half, with O’Keeffe pointing after a good run from Murray. Niamh McLaughlin and O’Keeffe exchanged points before Donegal made it 2-7 to 1-8 with a superb individual point from Barrett.
McMonagle fielded well and curled over Donegal’s next and when Guthrie galloped through the centre and blasted over to make it 2-9 to 1-8, Donegal looked certain winners with nine minutes on the clock.
Conor Barry’s charges dug deep, however, and a great point from Doonan, again after sterling work from English, got the scoreboard ticking over again.
Herron landed Donegal’s next but the visitors suffered a blow when her midfield partner Guthrie was sin-binned with three minutes remaining. Cavan needed something special and it arrived when experienced sub Gráinne Smith curled in a beauty and then, deep in stoppage time, Rosie Crowe found Murray, who tucked the ball away low to the corner to ensure a share of the spoils for the Blues.
Cavan: Jennifer Kane, Rachael Jordan, Laura Fitzpatrick, Joanne Moore, Emma McDermott, Gráinne McGlade, Sheila Reilly, Donna English (0-1), Mona Sheridan, Catriona Smith (0-2), Aisling Doonan (0-2, 1f), Sarah Murray (1-0), Roisin O’Keeffe (1-3, 2f), Aishling Sheridan, Geraldine Sheridan (0-1). Subs: Gráinne Smith (0-1), Rosie Crowe, Claragh O’Reilly
Donegal: Laura Gallagher, Nicole McLaughlin, Emer Gallagher, Deirdre Foley, Aoife McDonnell, Ciara Hegarty, Rose Boyle, Katy Herron (0-2), Karen Guthrie (0-2), Niamh McLaughlin, Niamh Hegarty, Eilish Ward, Roisin Curran (0-1), Amber Barrett (1-2), Yvonne McMonagle (1-2)
Subs: Bridgeen Gallagher, Emma McRory, Ciara Hegarty
Referee: Brendan Rice (Down)