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Ladies’ SFC: Waterford and Armagh claim quarter-final slots

Aileen Wall’s late goal breaks Cavan’s hearts; Armagh edge high-scoring clash with Westmeath

Aileen Wall’s late goal secured an All-Ireland quarter-final for Waterford. File photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Waterford 1-15 Cavan 1-13

Aileen Wall’s dramatic late goal stunned Cavan and sent Waterford through to a dream TG4 All-Ireland ladies’ SFC quarter-final clash with Dublin.

Wall struck in the 63rd minute in Clane to book a place in the last eight for the beaten Munster finalists.

That’s a step further than they had gone in last year’s championship – and they’ll present stiff opposition to Mick Bohan’s in-form Dublin.

Waterford shocked Armagh in the preliminary round of the qualifiers last year, before falling to Kerry, but they claimed another notable scalp on Saturday.

Cavan’s Aisling Doonan and Donna English carried the fight to Waterford in the second half and the Ulster side looked like holding out after coming from three points down to lead late on.

Ahead by a point, 1-13 to 0-15, Doonan had a chance to stretch Cavan’s lead but Caoimhe McGrath plucked her free from underneath her own bar to keep Waterford alive.

And they would get their chance, as Wall somehow managed to squeeze her shot home after Lauren McGregor had done well to create the chance.

Wall wasn’t named to start but she came on to make a big impact, on a day when Waterford’s replacements played key roles.

At the end of a 40-minute first half, after a lengthy stoppage for treatment to Waterford’s experienced forward Gráinne Kenneally, the Déise led by 0-9 to 1-5.

But despite playing against the breeze from the start, it was Cavan who registered the game’s first two scores, captain Sinéad Greene carrying the ball from well inside her own half to open the scoring, before Claragh O’Reilly popped over a sixth-minute score.

But Waterford could have had the ball in the net in the very first minute, as Cavan goalkeeper Elaine Walsh did well to block Emma Murray’s close-range effort.

Waterford hit back to those early Cavan points with three in two minutes – Eimear Fennell, the excellent Michelle Ryan and Maria Delahunty on target.

But Cavan had the ball in the net in the 10th minute – Doonan on target with a penalty after Jessica Fitzgerald pulled down Aishling Sheridan, an offence that earned the Waterford goalkeeper a yellow card.

Waterford brought on Katie Hannon for Fitzgerald, with Róisín Tobin sacrificed for a 10-minute spell to get a specialist goalkeeper on the pitch.

Waterford did well with 14 players, holding their own and finding themselves just a point down when Fitzgerald and Tobin returned.

Cavan’s Donna English won a Waterford kick-out to put her side 1-3 to 0-3 clear but the Breffni girls were vulnerable on their own re-starts.

Pushing right up, Waterford notched three points in two minutes to level at 0-6 to 1-3 and from there, it was very much tit-for-tat fare until half-time.

Approaching the break, Waterford’s Katie Murray and Cavan’s Catriona Smith traded fisted points, before Aoife Murray’s second point had Pat Sullivan’s charges ahead by a point at the interval.

Neasa Byrd levelled things up for Cavan early in the second half but Waterford hit back with a real purple patch – Ryan hitting two point from play after a trademark Delahunty 45.

But Doonan would have a massive say in second half, both in a scoring sense and with her ability to pull the strings for Cavan from centre forward.

Waterford managed to keep Cavan at bay until the 53rd minute, when Smith hauled the Breffni girls level at 1-12 to 0-15.

Doonan’s free pushed Cavan ahead but after another dropped short, and was brilliantly fielded by McGrath, Waterford still had hope.

And they struck late through Wall – to prolong a landmark season that saw them claim victories over Cork and Kerry in Munster.

WATERFORD: J Fitzgerald; M Dunford, C McGrath, K McGrath; D Ní hAodha, K McGrath, K Murray (0-1); M Wall, E Murray; R Tobin, G Kenneally, A Murray (0-3); E Fennell (0-2), M Delahunty (0-5, two frees, one 45), M Ryan (0-4).

Subs: K Hannon for Tobin (sin-bin, 10-20 mins), A Wall (1-0) for Tobin (34 mins), R Casey for Ní hAodha (42 mins), L McGregor for Fennell (56 mins).

CAVAN: E Walsh; R Doonan, A Cornyn, A Reilly; S Greene (0-1), L Fitzpatrick, S Lynch; D English (0-2), S O’Sullivan; M Sheridan, A Doonan 1-6 (1-0 pen, three frees), C Smith (0-2); A Sheridan, C O’Reilly (0-1), N Byrd (0-1).

Subs: G Smith for O’Reilly (42 mins), S McKenna for Byrd (58 mins).

Referee: J Murphy (Carlow).

Armagh 3-16 Westmeath 4-11

Armagh will face Munster champions Kerry in the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC quarter-finals after surviving a massive scare from Leinster runners-up Westmeath on Saturday.

Armagh held on for a two-point victory in a tense and high-scoring encounter at home of the Lannleire club in Louth.

The Orchard County got off to a cracking start when Caroline O’Hanlon netted a penalty, before the brilliant Aimee Mackin raised a green flag to open up a 2-3 to 0-3 lead.

Westmeath captain Laura Lee Walsh responded with a goal for the Lake County and when Ciara Blundell scored their second, it was very much game on.

At half-time, Armagh led by 2-9 to 2-7 and there was more drama to come in the second period.

O’Hanlon scored a quite stunning goal to hand Armagh an early boost, fielding on the 45-yard line before launching the ball into the net from distance.

But Westmeath wouldn’t lie down and they hit back with a goal of their own – Kelly Boyce Jordan on target.

Midway through the second half, Armagh led by 3-12 to 3-8 and they suffered a real blow when Marian McGuinness was sin-binned, while Aine Mackin had a goal ruled out.

A superb Aimee Mackin score did steady Armagh, and had them 3-15 to 3-9 in front, but Westmeath were back in it when Leona Archibold netted a penalty.

In stoppage time, Armagh were just two points clear, and playing with 14, but star forward Mackin moved the winners into a three-point advantage.

There was still time for Maud Annie Foley to bring Westmeath to within two points but Armagh held out for a spot in the last eight of the championship.