Ulster Ladies SFC: Donegal beat Cavan after extra-time to make decider

Donegal's Geraldine McLaughlin moves clear of Cavan defender Joanne Moore
Geraldine McLaughlin was in superb form for Donegal in the provincial semi-final

Geraldine McLaughlin hit 14 points to help holders Donegal to a 0-24 to 2-13 extra-time win over Cavan in the Ulster Ladies SFC semi-final at Killyclogher.

Ciara Finnegan netted for Cavan as the sides went in all-square with a 1-6 to 0-9 scoreline at the break.

Aisling Maguire added Cavan's second goal from a penalty and they led by five before Donegal fought back.

Kate Keeney's equaliser took the game into extra-time with McLaughlin scoring seven points as Donegal sealed victory.

Donegal remain on course for a third successive provincial crown and they will face Armagh in a repeat of last year's final.

Cavan looked set for a first final since 2016 but Keeney's point brought the game to extra-time and buoyed by this Donegal kicked on to an impressive win.

Cavan's Neasa Byrd gives chase as Amy Boyle goes on a run for Donegal in Saturday night's game
Cavan's Neasa Byrd gives chase as Amy Boyle goes on a run for Donegal in Saturday night's game

The sides could not be separated at the break despite Donegal looking much the brighter side for long periods of a lively first-half.

The opening exchanges were nip and tuck with the dangerous duo of McLaughlin and Karen Guthrie between them registered Donegal's five points to give them the lead by one.

For Cavan, Maguire (2), Finnegan and Donna English were all on target while both sides also saw goal chances go unclaimed with Finnegan and McLaughlin denied by good saves at each end.

Three unanswered points moved Donegal four clear but Cavan kept in touch with two Maguire frees before they hit the front on 30 minutes when a strong run from Aisling Sheridan created the opportunity, which was fired to the net by Finnegan.

Donegal still had time to level matters through Amy Boyle Carr to leave it level at half-time.

Maguire spot-on

It was an explosive start on the resumption with Aisling Sheridan winning the throw-in and running straight through the Donegal rearguard before she was fouled for a penalty that was expertly dispatched by Maguire, an offence that saw saw Donegal captain Guthrie sin-binned.

They traded two points apiece while both Roisin Friel and Maguire were also sin binned before English put Cavan four clear on 44 minutes.

Finnegan moved Cavan five in front but two points from Guthrie made it a three-point game with nine minutes remaining.

Cavan then had Rachael Doonan sin-binned and from the resultant free McLaughlin fired over.

English then became the fourth Cavan player sin-binned with four of the six additional minutes remaining, but Guthrie reduced the deficit to the minimum before a super Keeney point levelled the game and forced extra-time.

Seven points from McLaughlin saw Donegal over the winning line despite having Nicole McLaughlin and Niamh Carr sin binned.

Donegal scorers: G McLaughlin 0-14 (3f), K Guthrie 0-8 (7f), A Boyle Carr 0-1, K Keeney 0-1

Cavan scorers: A Maguire 1-6 (5f, 1-0 pen), C Finnegan 1-2 (1f), D English 0-3, E Longair 0-1, K McIntyre 0-1

Donegal: A McColgan; A.M. McGlynn, E Gallagher, N Boyle; N Carr, N McLaughlin, T Doherty; K Herron, E McGinley; K Guthrie, K Keeney, A Boyle Carr; R Freil, G McLaughlin, S McGroddy.

Subs: M Ryan for McGlynn (47), D Foley for Ryan (60), Ryan for McGroddy (70), S McLaughlin for Keeney (73), R Rogers for Friel (79), McGroddy for Boyle Carr (80).

Cavan: E Walsh; K McIntyre, R Doonan, S Reilly; S Greene, S Lynch, J Moore; S O'Sullivan, N Byrd; A Gilsenan, A Maguire, D English; C Finnegan, A Sheridan, L Fitzpatrick.

Subs: N Keeneghan for Gilsenan (24), M Sheridan for Moore (40), E Longair for English (60), English for Keeneghan (66), G Sheridan for O'Sullivan (79), A O'Reilly for Finnegan (79).

Referee: K McKeever (Armagh).