The Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues Semi-final played last Saturday in Markievicz Park was in fact the first time the venue had hosted an inter-county Camogie match.
After impressive victories over Kildare and Louth in the group games, Mayo were more than deserving of their semi final place.
With comprehensive victories over Wicklow, Antrim and Tyrone en route to the knock out stages, an experienced Cavan side entered this tie as firm favourites.
The favourites tag seemed very much justified within 2 minutes, with Mayo sent reeling after a goal from Cavan’s Niamh Reilly. This was the worst possible start for this young Mayo side. To their credit, they recovered and managed to mount several attacks on the Cavan goal. Their efforts paid off with two well taken scores from Lisa Scahill & Meabh Delaney.
Over all, Mayo would have been very pleased with their first half performance. Points from Ciara Delaney, Erin Murray & another Meabh Delaney free were indicative of a Mayo team growing in confidence. Just before the half time whistle, disaster struck for a second time. Another Cavan goal in the 25th minute left Mayo trailing 2.4 to 0.5 at half time.
While Mayo’s work rate and determination never faltered in the second half, it was always going to be difficult to drag themselves back in to real contention. Despite the green & red continuing to work tirelessly, Cavan showed just why they won the Nancy Murray Cup last year & contested the Premier Junior final. They continued to apply the pressure & ran out convincing winners on a scoreline of 3.12 to 0.7.
The Mayo players will have learned a great deal from this encounter. Valuable experience gained and an indication of the standard required at this level.
It was wonderful to have spectators again at a match, the noise and atmosphere was great and a little taster of what is to come later in the year.
As our players now turn their attention to the championship and playing in the Nancy Murray cup, they have already shown their ability to be competetive. No doubt they will hope to build on the experience gained through the Littlewoods League and use that as a platform to further their development as a team.
Mayo Team: E. Minish, R. Cassidy, A. Mulkeen, G. Delaney, S. Golden, M. Charlton, E. Kelly, M. Delaney (0.04), A. Charlton, O. Hession, E. Murray (0.01), H. O’Malley (C), A. Lilly, L. Scahill (0.01), C. Delaney (0.01)
Substitutes: R. Lyons for R. Cassidy, M. Mooney for A. Lilly, H. Tener for E. Murray