Cavan salvage draw in thrilling semi-final battle with Tyrone

June 20th, 2016


Ulster Senior Football Championship Semi-Final


An injury-time goal from David Givney salvaged a draw for Cavan in a thrilling Ulster SFC semi-final against Tyrone at Clones. In what was easily the best game of the football championship so far, Tyrone led by three points going into stoppage time when Givney got on the end of Cian Mackey’s ball across and fisted home his second goal of the game to set up a replay on July 3 back in St Tiernach’s Park.

With four minutes of stoppage time signalled, Tyrone still had two chances to snatch victory but Darren McCurry’s ’45’ trailed wide and Niall Sludden dropped the ball short into the Cavan ‘keeper’s hands from only 20m out.

Tyrone probably should have shaded it on the balance of play, but Cavan had a goalscoring threat throughout and got a dream start through Givney’s first goal in the sixth minute. Martin Reilly’s shot was blocked but Givney followed in the shot and tapped the rebound into the net.

Fergal Flanagan then scored from distance to put the underdogs 1-1 up with Tyrone still in the blocks.Tyrone’s counter-attacks were slow and ponderous and the route one high ball into Sean Cavanagh wasn’t working with Cavan’s defence mopping up all the danger.

They were living off scraps and a long-range point from Cathal McShane and another from Connor McAliskey was brief respite from Cavan’s bright start. Terry Hyland’s side were bristling with belief and Tomas Corr and Cian Mackey restored their four-point lead.

Mackey’s point, however, proved to be their last score until a contentious second goal in first-half stoppage time from Conor Moynagh. In the intervening 22 minutes, Tyrone scored six points in a row as they began to settle and get to grips with Cavan’s intensity.

A rare mistake in Cavan defence allowed Ronan O’Neill to score his first point and he followed it up with two frees and another point from play before the break. Peter Harte and Colm Cavanagh also scored from play, Cavanagh’s left-footed point from a difficult angle putting Tyrone ahead for the first time at 0-7 to 1-3 in the 32nd minute.

Tyrone looked set to take a half-time lead into the dressing-room when O’Neill’s point stretched their lead to two, but Cavan struck at the perfect time in the last action of the half. Raymond Galligan’s 60 metre free dropped short and was flicked on by Givney and the ricochet was bundled in by Conor Moynagh, despite Colm Cavanagh and Cathal McCarron’s best efforts to clear their lines.

Referee David Gough at first waved play on but was informed by an umpire that the ball had crossed the line, giving Cavan a 2-3 to 0-8 half time lead. Donnelly brothers Mattie and Ritchie both scored to nudge Tyrone ahead again but Cavan were in no mood to surrender the initiative and committed way more bodies forward.

Trailing 2-3 to 0-10, Cavan reeled off the next four points through Seanie Johnston (free), Raymond Galligan’s ’45’ and points from Niall Murray and the excellent Dara McVeety. Both teams had their periods of dominance and Tyrone responded with four of their own through Sean Cavanagh, Connor McAliskey, Niall Sludden and Mattie Donnelly and looked to have done enough to advance to a first Ulster final since 2010.

Sub Padraig McNulty missed a golden chance to put them there, taking a brilliant crossfield pass from the lively Ronan O’Neill, but blasted his shot shot straight at the goalkeeper. Darren McCurry nailed the ’45’ but there was still time for Givney’s heroics to give Cavan another chance to reach their first provincial decider since 2001.

Scorers for Cavan – D Givney 2-0, C Moynagh 1-0, F Flanagan, N Murray, T Corr, D McVeety, C Mackey 0-1 each, S Johnston 0-1 (f), R Galligan 0-1 (a ’45’)

Scorers for Tyrone – R O’Neill 0-5 (3f), C McAliskey, M Donnelly 0-2 each, N Sludden, P Harte, C Cavanagh, C McShane, R Donnelly, S Cavanagh 0-1 each, D McCurry 0-1 (a ’45’)

CAVAN: R Galligan; C Brady, K Clarke, R Dunne; F Flanagan, C Moynagh, N Murray; T Corr, J McEnroe; D McVeety, G McKiernan, M Reilly; D Givney, C Mackey, S Johnston
Subs: E Keating for Johnston (59), C Brady for K Brady (65), P Faulkner for K Clarke (65), J Brady for Moynagh (67), G Smith for McEnroe (70)

TYRONE: M O’Neill; A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron; T McCann, N Sludden, P Harte; C Cavanagh, M Donnelly; C McShane, M Bradley, R Donnelly; C McAliskey, S Cavanagh, R O’Neill
Subs: R Brennan for Bradley (HT), C Meyler for McShane (42), D McCurry for R Donnelly (50), P McNulty for McAliskey (65)

REFEREE: David Gough (Meath)

Report:Orla Bannon