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Cavan leave it late to seal return to Division 1 in dramatic fashion

Conor Madden came off the bench to seal a memorable win.

Dara McVeety and Conor Madden celebrate.
Dara McVeety and Conor Madden celebrate.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Cavan 0-17

Tipperary 2-10

Paul Fitzpatrick reports from Kingspan Breffni Park

CAVAN SECURED THEIR passage back to the top flight for the 2019 season after a stirring victory over Tipperary at Kingspan Breffni.

Coming off the back of a defeat against fellow promotion contenders Roscommon last time out, the pressure was on Cavan, especially given that Tipperary knocked them out of the All-Ireland qualifiers at the same venue last July.

And entering the final quarter, they looked to be in big trouble when the Munster men led by four points.

However, Cavan finished strongly and a classy left-footed strike from sub Conor Madden, in the fifth minute of injury time, eventually saw them over the line.

Tipp were the better side in the first half, when they dominated on both kick-outs. They opened the scoring through Liam Casey in the third minute; Cavan levelled through a Bryan Magee free and edged in front with another from the lively Caoimhin O’Reilly but then the inevitable.

Tipp’s prowess at finding the net is well-known and they managed it in the 13th minute when a high, hopeful ball aimed at Michael Quinlivan was batted down and Jimmy Feehan latched on to the break and was fouled.

Conor Sweeney tucked it away stylishly from the spot and although Cavan pulled back another free from veteran Cian Mackey, the visitors were pressing the Cavan kick-out and hoovering up the breaks when Blues goalkeeper Ray Galligan went long.

A neat score from Liam McGrath made it 1-3 to 0-3 on 18 minutes before defender Ciaran Brady hit back with an inspirational point from play for Cavan, who were by now enjoying more success on Evan Comerford’s restarts but struggling to make it count on the scoreboard.

Enda Flanagan blocked by Brian Fox Source: James Crombie/INPHO

A huge effort from McGrath restored the three-point gap but Cavan had the final say of the first half when youngster O’Reilly, who made his senior debut against the same opposition last July, fisted over his team’s sixth of the afternoon.

The Premier opened the second half scoring through Josh Keane but Cavan landed two in a row from Magee (free) and a brilliant effort from McVeety.

And then came a huge talking point as Tipperary’s Casey was dismissed on a straight red card after tangling with Ciaran Brady.

With the numerical advantage, Cavan slowly pushed on and by the 48th minute, points from Conor Bradley and McVeety had them level.

Tipp sub Liam Boland and Cavan goalkeeper Ray Galligan — with a 50-metre free — trade scores but the away side put some daylight between the teams when they conjured a sweeping move which McGrath finished by palming to the net.

And when Sweeney added another, they were four up and had one foot in the top-flight.

However, with the industrious Martin Reilly to the fore, the Breffni men kept plugging away and they would win the final 20 minutes — including injury time — by five points to seal a memorable victory.

Bradley, McKiernan (two frees) and Mackey all pointed as, at the other end, Tipperary spurned a couple of glorious chances.

Cian Mackey celebrates with Oisin Kiernan after the game Source: James Crombie/INPHO

With time almost up, Sweeney nailed a free to nudge his team in front by 2-10 to 0-15 but Cavan dug deep and a McKiernan free and a late, late long range winner from sub Madden sealed their return to Division 1 in a dramatic finish.

Scorers for Cavan: Gearoid McKiernan 0-3 (2f), Caoimhin O’Reilly 0-3, 2f, Dara McVeety 0-2, Conor Bradley 0-2, Bryan Magee 0-2f, Cian Mackey 0-2 (1f), Raymond Galligan 0-1f, Ciaran Brady 0-1, Conor Madden 0-1.

Scorers for Tipperary: Liam McGrath 1-4 (2f), Conor Sweeney 1-1 (1-0 pen, 1f), Liam Casey 0-2, Steven O’Brien 0-1, Josh Keane 0-1, Liam Boland 0-1.

Cavan:

1 Raymond Galligan (Lacken Celtic)

2 Jason McLoughlin (Shannon Gaels)
3 Padraig Faulkner (Kingscourt Stars)
4 Enda Flanagan (Castlerahan)

5 Martin Reilly (Killygarry)
6 Ciaran Brady (Arva)
7 Conor Moynagh (Drumgoon)

8 Gearoid McKiernan (Swanlinbar)
9 Killian Clarke (Shercock)

10 Dara McVeety (Crosserlough)
11 Bryan Magee (Cuchulainns)
12 Oisin Kiernan (Castlerahan)

13 Caoimhin O’Reilly (Butlersbridge)
14 Cian Mackey (Roscommon)
15 Conor Bradley (Ramor United)

Subs:

Adrian Cole (Ramor United) for O’Reilly (45 mins)
Sean Johnston (Cavan Gaels) for Flanagan (55)
Stephen Murray (Cavan Gaels) for Moynagh (56)
Niall Clerkin (Shercock) for Bradley (67)
Conor Madden (Gowna) for Magee (69)

Tipperary:

16 Evan Comerford (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)

2 Alan Campbell (Moyle Rovers)
3 Emmet Moloney (Drom & Inch)
4 John Meagher (Loughmore-Castleiney)

5 Bill Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)
6 Robbie Kiely (Carbery Rangers)
7 Jimmy Feehan (Killenaule)

8 Steven O’Brien (Ballina)
9 Liam Casey (Cahir)

10 Josh Keane (Golden-Kilfeacle)
11 Jason Lonergan (Clonmel Commercials)
12 Brian Fox (Eire Óg Annacarty-Donohill)

13 Conor Sweeney (Ballyporeen)
14 Michael Quinlivan (Clonmel Commercials)
15 Liam McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)

Subs:

17 Kevin Fahey (Clonmel Commercials) for Maher (27 mins)
19 Liam Boland (Moyle Rovers) for Fahey (46)
22 Kevin O’Halloran (Portroe) for Kennedy (65)

Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford).

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Paul Fitzpatrick

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