ANN Kavanagh kept her cool and eye on the target as Tullaroan grabbed the first piece of silverware in the ladies domestic season.
The North Kilkenny team retained the title for a second year in succession when Kavanagh grabbed the winner in the second half at Derdimus on St Patrick’s Day.
With the game locked at 1-1, Tullaroan got a big chance to go in front when, following a spell of pressure, they were awarded a penalty after referee Larry Buggy pointed to the spot following a corner-kick. Kavanagh came forward to take the kick, but her effort was well saved by Aine Sheehy.
It looked like Tullaroan’s hopes were dashed – but Kavanagh wasn’t to be denied. Quickest to react, the midfielder followed up on the loose ball and rammed it to the net.
Although chances were few and far between in the early stages, Thomastown were the more forceful of the two teams.
Fresh from a League win over their opponents, United – who won 1-0 thanks to a Jenny Reddy goal in the recent encounter in Tullaroan – United came into the game with a solid plan. Thomastown’s tactic of flooding the midfield and closing down the space, limiting the room in which Tullaroan’s Jennifer Grant had to move in, was working well.
As the half wore on, Thomastown upped the ante. They got their reward when, in the 37th minute, they were awarded a free just outside the D.
Niamh Bolger took advantage of a poorly arranged wall, blasting the ball to an unguarded net.
Tullaroan came much more into the game in the second half and put the Thomastown goal under severe pressure.
Chasing the game, their efforts were finally rewarded when Maggie O’Dea got on the end of a corner and steered her shot just inside the right hand post.
As Thomastown pushed forward more the game began to open up, with chances appearing at both ends. Neither side could force the issue until the closing stages, however, when Kavanagh fired home the vital winner.