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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 19 December, 2018

Late Seanie Johnston free earns relegation-threatened Cavan a valuable point against Kerry

Kerry’s chance of reaching the league final is now all but gone, but Cavan have a fighting chance of staying in Division 1.

Cavan 1-10

Kerry 0-13

Paul Brennan reports from Kingspan Breffni Park

A CRACKING DRAW in Breffni Park left Cavan and Kerry with a share of the spoils but just how useful a point is to each county remains to be seen.

The dropped point means Kerry’s chance of reaching the league final is all but gone but more significantly now is that the point gained keeps them out of the relegation zone and, in all likelihood, playing top-flight football next season.

For Cavan the point moves them onto four points and if they can bank two more against Roscommon next weekend it will give the Breffni men a fighting chance of staying in Division One. However, they will need other results to fall their way.

Gerard Smith with Darren O’Sullivan Gerard Smith and Darran O’Sullivan do battle. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

In a game that kicked to life in the second half Kerry needed five points from their bench to rescue this draw after Dara McVeety’s 41st minute goal vaulted Cavan into a 1-5 to 0-7 lead after they had trailed 0-4 to 0-6 at the break.

The final half an hour was a slugfest between two teams with different reasons for wanting a favourable result. Kerry were trying to back up the previous weekend’s performance against Dublin with another power-packed effort but they never hit those heights.

Cavan were trying to build on that win away to Mayo and while they played some excellent football against Kerry, their finishing in Breffni Park left them down badly.

Dara McVeety celebrates scoring a goal Dara McVeety's goal edged Cavan into the lead. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The first half was notable for very little in the way of positive football save for a few isolated moments of skill, namely the game’s opening point from Cavan full back Killian Clarke and a couple of fine pieces of defending from Kerry’s Ronan Shanahan and Peter Crowley.

The rest of the first half was summed up by some woeful distribution by Kerry, even worse attempts at scoring from Cavan, and a black card issued to each side. Cavan had nine wides in that half – eight of them shots at the posts that went every which way but over the bar. On the other side Kerry had as many turnovers, most of them unforced, which had Eamonn Fitzmaurice with his head in his hands more often than he could have expected.

The game was only eight minutes old when Kerry centre forward Kevin McCarthy was black carded for a body check, but Darran O’Sullivan’s premature introduction didn’t improve Kerry’s attack a lot. They trailed 0-1 to 0-3 moments later when Conor Madden pointed for the home side though two more converted Paul Geaney frees had the scores level by the 14th minute.

It was 0-4 apiece when Cavan lost corner back Killian Brady for a leg trip but Cavan’s desperate inaccuracy was more costly and Kerry finished the half with scores from Geaney and Jack Barry to lead by two at the break.

John Keane celebrates scoring a late point Barry John Keane held his nerve over a late free. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Bryan Sheehan and Conor Madden (free) traded scores early in the half before McVeety scored a brilliant goal to spring this game to life. Two Niall McDermott frees edged Cavan two clear, 1-8 to 0-9, but Kerry responded with character and scores from Geaney, Paul Murphy, Barry John Keane and Sheehan flipped that two-point deficit on its head for Kerry to lead by two after 69 minutes.

Conor Moynagh cut the gap in half before substitute Seanie Johnston nailed a 40-metre free to level the game while Geaney pulled a difficult free wide right at the death to leave both sides going home feeling a little empty-handed.

Scorers for Kerry: Paul Geaney 0-5 (0-4f), Bryan Sheehan 0-3 (0-2f), Barry John Keane 0-2, Donnchadh Walsh 0-1, Jack Barry 0-1, Paul Murphy 0-1.

Scorers for Cavan: Conor Madden 0-3 (0-2f), Dara McVeety 1-0, Niall McDermott 0-2 (0-2f), Gearoid McKiernan 0-1 (0-1f), Killian Clarke 0-1, Niall Clerkin 0-1, Conor Moynagh 0-1, Sean Johnston 0-1 (0-1f).


1. Brendan Kealy (Kilcummin)

2. Fionn Fitzgerald (Dr Crokes)
3. Mark Griffin (St Michaels-Foilmore)
4. Ronan Shanahan (Austin Stacks)

5. Peter Crowley (captain) (Laune Rangers)
6. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe)
7. Paul Murphy (Rathmore)

8. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahillys)
9. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil)

10. Adrian Spillane (Templenoe)
11. Kevin McCarthy (Kilcummin)
12. Donnchadh Walsh (Cromane)

13. Jack Savage (Kerins O’Rahillys)
14. Paul Geaney (Dingle)
15. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare)


19. Darran O’Sullivan (Glenbeigh/Glencar) for K McCarthy (black, 10 mins)
22. Bryan Sheehan (St Marys) for K Spillane (28 mins)
17. Barry John Keane (Kerins O’Rahillys) for J Savage (41 mins)
20. Anthony Maher (Duagh) for D O’Sullivan (55 mins)
18. Jonthan Lyne (Legion) for P Crowley (61 mins)
21. Mikey Geaney (Dingle) for J Barry (62 mins)


1. Raymond Galligan (Lacken)

2. Killian Brady (Mullahoran)
3. Killian Clarke (Shercock)
4. Fergal Reilly (Castlerahan)

5. Niall Clerkin (Shercock)
6. Conor Moynagh (Drumgoon)
7. Rory Dunne (Redhills)

8. Tomas Corr (Denn)
9. Gearoid McKiernan (Swanlinbar)

10. Gerard Smith (Lavey)
11. Dara McVeety (Crosserlough)
12. Martin Reilly (Killygarry)

17. Niall Murray (Cavan Gaels)
14. Conor Madden (Gowna)
15. Joe Dillon (Kingscourt)


18. Jason McLoughlin (Shannon Gaels) for K Brady (black, 20 mins)
23. Cian Mackey (Castlerahan) for N Clerkin (41 mins)
13. Niall McDermott (Ballinagh) for C Madden (47 mins)
20. Ciaran Brady (Arvagh) for G Smith (50 mins)
19. Stephen Murray (Cavan Gaels) for R Dunne (65 mins)
22. Sean Johnston (Cavan Gaels) for J Dillon (69 mins)

Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)

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About the author:

Paul Brennan

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