Conor Madden breaks Tipperary hearts and sends Cavan up
75th-minute winner sees hosts secure promotion and set up Roscommon decider
Conor Madden celebrates his winning point against Tipperary. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Cavan 0-17 Tipperary 2-10
Super sub Conor Madden’s 75th minute winner broke Tipp hearts and spirited Cavan back into the league’s top flight.
Gallant Tipp gave it their all but were forced to play with just 14 men for the final 34 minutes of the game.
Tipperary travelled north with a spring in their step as they sought to book their place in Division One for the first time in their history. Cavan trailed for much of the game and only led twice in a brillant contest.
Sweeney’s unerring finish catapulted the visitors into a 1-1 to 0-2 lead and Cavan laboured against hungry and well-organised visitors.
Tipp were the better side in the opening half with the twin towers of Steven O’Brien and Liam Casey helping to give them the edge in the vital middle third.
Despite the promptings of Cavan captain Dara McVeety, Cavan played second fiddle in the run-in to the break and they trailed by 0-6 to 1-5 at the half-time whistle.
Fortunately for the hosts, they got a major leg-up in the 41st minute when Tipp midfielder Liam Casey received a straight red after striking out at Cavan defender Ciaran Brady as the visitors clung to a 1-6 to 0-8 lead.
Cavan laboured to make good their extra man count but a Raymond Galligan free (53) made it all-square (0-11 to 1-8) for only the second time in the game.
Less than 90 seconds later, Tipp found the jugular with Liam McGrath playing a neat one-two with Steven O’Brien before leaping and palming into the Cavan net.
Tipp were leading 2-8 to 0-11 but under the spring sun and against superior numbers, they visibly tired. When Cian Mackey’s trusty right boot made it 0-15 to 2-9, all the momentum was with Cavan.
And right on cue, substitute Madden arrowed over from 35-metres to send the blues into a Division Two decider against Roscommon.
Cavan: R Galligan (0-1, f); J McLaughlin, P Faulkner, E Flanagan; M Reilly, C Brady (0-1), C Moynagh; G McKiernan (0-3, 3f), K Clarke; D McVeety (0-2) , B Magee (0-2, 2f), O Kiernan; C O’Reilly (0-3, 2f), C Mackey (0-2, 1f), C Bradley (0-2). Subs: A Cole for C O’Reilly (44); S Johnston for E Flanagan (56); S Murray for C Moynagh (58); N Clerkin for C Bradley (67); C Madden (0-1) for B Magee (69).
Tipperary: E Comerford; A Campbell, E Moloney, J Meagher; B Maher, R Kiely, J Feehan; S O’Brien, L Casey (0-2); J Keane (0-1), J Kennedy, B Fox; C Sweeney (1-2, pen, 1f), M Quinlivan, L McGrath (1-4, 2f). Subs: K Fahey for B Maher (28, inj); L Boland (0-1) for K Fahey (45, inj); K O’Halloran for J Kennedy (65); G Hannigan for C Sweeney (73).