Amber Barrett gave another stunning display on Saturday as she hit four second half goals to power Donegal to the Ulster title in Ballyconnell on Saturday.
A few years ago Amber did something similar for her school in Milford against a Cavan team, so they must be sick of the sight of her in the Breffni county
The Donegal minor ladies sealed their win at the top of the Ulster ranks with a sparkling second half performance. Donegal started brightly with points from Shannon McGroddy and Sadhbha Medlar to put them two points to the good after only three minutes. The girls looked good for their lead and really should have added a point or two more.
Cavan came into the game with a bang on the sixth minute when they were awarded a penalty, which was in turn converted comfortably by the nifty Emma Duffy. The penalty followed a bit of a scramble for the ball in the Donegal goal mouth from which the referee felt there had been a breach of discipline by the Donegal defence. Beth FarrellyMagee quickly added a fine point for the Cavan girls. Donegal responded well with a point each from the midfield duo of Roisin Curran and Emer Lafferty. Unfortunately these scores after fifteen minutes were to be the last for the Donegal girls in the first half. With some missed opportunities from Donegal, Cavan mounted the pressure on and made brilliant use of their possession to notch up four points. One of these points was due to a second penalty which was saved by Karen Ward. This was a vital save to keep the heads up for Donegal. Aisling Sheridan for Cavan was sinbinned for her foul on Niamh Carr though the Donegal girls failed to benefit from their numerical advantage although they did hit the crossbar in this period. Half time came after a surprising thirteen minutes of injury time leaving Cavan with a lead of four points at the break.
Cavan started the second half looking sharper with a point from Emma Duffy shortly after the restart. Donegal introduced Amber Barrett and Kathy McLaughlin eight minutes into the second half. On a day where the ground was heavy subs were needed and these two were to play a big part in the great second half performance by the Donegal outfit. The fresh legs were too much for the Cavan defence with the two subs scoring three goals between them within five minutes of their entrance.
Donegal proceeded to dominate throughout the remainder of the game with Amber Barrett on flying form adding another two goals and a point to her tally for the day. Donegal secured another point from midfielder Roisin Curran and a goal from Bláthnaid McLaughlin to put the game well beyond the reach of the Cavan ladies. Curran’s point was a superb effort from long range. Cavan added a goal and a point, both from Aoibhinn Kiernan, but these were nothing more than consolation scores as the clocked ticked away.
Much to the delight of the Donegal outfit the final whistle was blown and the celebrations commenced. Overall it was an outstanding team effort and they thoroughly deserved their win. The defenders worked endlessly to contain the
Cavan attack, midfield offered extra attacking options and great support to the defence, while up front Donegal always looked dangerous and in the second half became very clinical to convert most of their opportunities.
Roisin Curran and Emer Lafferty accepted the cup from Michael Naughton on behalf of the Ulster Council.
Donegal: Karen Ward, Aideen Meehan, Maeve Liston, Kaneshia McKinney, Jade O’Donnell, Niamh Carr, Rose Boyle, Roisin Curran (0-2), Emer Lafferty (0-1), Shannon McGroddy (0-1), Bláthnaid McLaughlin (1-0), Lauren O’Connell, Aine McLaughlin, Sadbhla Medlar (0-1), Erica Hanna. Subs used: Amber Barrett (4-1), Kathy McLaughlin (1-0). Subs not used: Ciara Gallagher, Orla McAteer, Áine Hanlon, Shannon McDonald, Gemma Glackin, Ellen Muldoon, Caroline Sharkey, Caoimhe McMenamin, Sarah Allen, Evelyn McGinley, Nadia McGee, Sinead Hession, Sarah Jane McDonald.
Manager: Ann Marie Gibbons.
Mentors: Margaret Foy, Kathleen Foy, Siobhán Coyle, Karen McLaughlin, Marie McLaughlin.
Cavan: Holly Lynch, Una Galligan, Shauna Lynch, Danika Doonan, Shannon Smith, Naomi Smith, Chelsi Curran, Nicole Fleming (0-1), Neasa Byrd, Sarah McCabe (0-1), Aisling Sheridan, Kate McIntyre, Emma Duffy (1-3), Beth Farrelly Magee (0-2), Aoibhinn Kiernan (1-1).