Cavan deny Derry in Celtic Park thriller
Breffni Countymen take their chance after O’Reilly’s last-gasp point forces extra-time
Cavan’s Tomás Corr pursued by Derry’s Enda Lynn and Mark Lynch at Celtic Park. Photograph: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho/Presseye
Terry Hyland’s side looked set to exit the championship when they trailed Derry 0-18 to 0-17 with just a few seconds of injury-time left and 73 minutes played. But Damien O’Reilly’s point with the last kick before the full-time whistle sent the game into extra-time, and Cavan went on to completely dominate the additional 20 minutes.
Boosted by superb performances from youthful substitutes Darragh McVeety and Michael Argue, Cavan soon took control in extra-time, and led 0-21 to 0-18 at the halfway mark after 10 minutes.
Cavan lead 0-9 to 0-7 at half-time of normal time, after recovering from a slow start to take control of the opening half.
Derry hit the first three points of the game, with Mark Lynch, Enda Lynn and Eoin Bradley all on the scoresheet, but Cavan managed to get back level with 15 minutes played after three scores in a row, the pick of them from Martin Dunne.
Cavan were beginning to get on top around the middle of the field, and with Derry guilty of kicking a lot of wides, the visitors went 0-6 to 0-4 ahead with 23 minutes played following points from Martin Reilly and Jack Brady.
Two points remained the gap when the sides went in at half-time, with two points from James Kielt keeping Derry in touch after Cavan finished their first-half scoring with efforts from Ronan Flanagan and Dunne.
Cavan maintained their advantage for long stages in the second half, and although Derry reduced the gap to one point on a number of occasions, Cavan didn’t relinquish their lead in the third quarter and lead 0-14 to 0-13 with 52 minutes played.
Lynch, who was excellent from frees throughout for Derry, equalised with 15 minutes to go, but Cavan surged two clear again when Eugene Keating and the livewire McVeety pointed.
However, Derry were finishing the game strongly, and points from Aaron Devlin and Lynch brought the sides level with five minutes to go. Cavan were showing tremendous spirit though, and despite Derry taking the lead twice in the closing stages, Cavan found levelling points on both occasions, with O’Reilly’s equaliser sending the game into extra-time.
On a very hot evening in Celtic Park, Derry looked exhausted in the extra period, and Cavan proved the more vital and fit side as they quickly took a three point lead after the restart through scores from Argue, McVeety and the outstanding Martin Reilly.
Derry managed a couple more points before the end, but Mackey’s late goal ended any realistic hopes Derry had of a comeback, and the Breffni County marched on.