Paddy Lynch goals prove key as Cavan claim Division Four title

Ulster side eventually shake off Tipperary to claim first Croke Park title in 70 years

Cavan 2-10 Tipperary 0-15

Two goals from attacker Paddy Lynch were key as Cavan held on to win their first national senior title at Croke Park since 1952.

Lynch found the net in each half to give Cavan a useful cushion but Tipperary battled to the end and almost snatched it when sub Stephen Quirke rattled the crossbar in injury time.

At half-time, Cavan were ahead by a point, 1-5 to 0-7, thanks to Lynch's first goal on 24 minutes. That major had put four between the teams but Tipp would finish the first half strongly, with Mark Russell kicking three sublime points from the right wing.

Conor Moynagh, who played the 'quarterback' role for Cavan, opened the scoring but Tipp were soon ahead through Conor Sweeney (free) and Mikey O'Shea.

Lynch, whose movement was excellent, gathered a Jason McLoughlin pass and converted a mark but Tipperary nudged in front again with a monster 40-metre effort from Kerry native Teddy Doyle.

Gearóid McKiernan (free) and Lynch raised further white flags and when Cavan, playing against the wind, found the net through Lynch, they were in command.

But Tipp came roaring back through Russell's three and a Jack Kennedy free and goalkeeper Raymond Galligan's free was all that separated them at the midway point.

On the resumption, Sweeney and O'Shea pointed but Cavan pulled two back quickly from Sweeney's fellow 2020 All Star and direct opponent Pádraig Faulkner and a fisted Cian Madden point.

Sweeney showed his class for another two quality scores from pay as Tipp hit the front with 20 minutes to go. James Smith sent over a good score for Cavan but the Munster men weren't going away and a fourth for the excellent Russell nudged them in front again. And when Kevin Fahey thumped over a big score, Tipperary were in the box seat.

But back came Cavan. Stephen Smith threaded over a well-taken score after good work from McKiernan and Lynch converted a pressure free and then, after a brave McLoughlin interception, the 22-year-old attacker raised his second green flag to make it 2-10 to 0-13 with seven minutes remaining.

The closing stages were helter-skelter; Cavan forced numerous turnovers but struggled to convert. Sweeney knocked over two frees, either side of Quirke’s thunderous effort off the woodwork, but Cavan held on for what was only their second win at HQ from 11 appearances at all levels since 1997.

CAVAN: R Galligan (0-1, a 45); L Fortune, P Faulkner (0-1), Killian Brady; J McLoughlin, C Moynagh (0-1), G Smith; J Smith (0-1), K Clarke; T Galligan, G McKiernan (0-1, free), Cian Madden (0-1); E Finnegan, P Lynch (2-3, one free, one mark), S Smith (0-1).

Subs: Conor Brady for K Brady (47 mins), Caoimhin O'Reilly for Madden (49), Conor Madden for G Smith (60), C Conroy for Finnegan (63), N Murray for S Smith (70).

TIPPERARY: M O'Reilly; S O'Connell, J Feehan, J Harney; K Fahey (0-1), C O'Shaughnessy, T Maher; C Kennedy, M Russell (0-4); B Maher, J Kennedy (0-1, free), T Doyle (0-1); M O'Shea (0-2), C Sweeney (0-6, three frees), S O'Connor.

Subs: C Deeley for S O'Connor (19 mins), W Eviston for Harney (49), S Quirke for Russell (54), B Hewitt for Deeley (65), M Keogh for T Maher (69).

Referee: J Hickey (Carlow).

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