Johnston holds nerve as Cavan erode late Kerry lead to snatch crucial draw
Cavan 1-10 Kerry 0-13
Cavan took another step towards securing their division one status when battling to a draw with Kerry in Kingspan Breffni Park this afternoon.
While the game was littered with errors, it produced an exciting finish with Seanie Johnston levelling things from a placed ball deep in injury time before Paul Geaney missed a very difficult free for Kerry from near the touchline with what was the last significant action of the day.
His miscue meant that Cavan will go into the final day knowing they still have a chance of remaining in the top flight even though Tyrone could do them a big favour if they beat Mayo this afternoon.
Kerry played with the wind in the first half but as was the case in the defeat to Monaghan, they struggled to take advantage of the conditions.
They went in leading by 0-6 to 0-4 at the interval but had scored just two points from play in that period as their forward line was disrupted by the dismissal of Kevin McCarthy on a black card and the withdrawal of Adrian Spillane before the half hour mark.
Cavan started brightly with a brilliant score from full back Killian Clarke but it was in defence where they were doing their best work as they continuously frustrated Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s men. Donnchadh Walsh’s point in the 18th minute and Jack Barry’s fisted effort just before the half time whistle was all Kerry could muster from play as the Breffni men went in in a decent position at half time.
However, it could have been much better as they kicked 10 wides in the opening 35 minutes.
The second half went along similar lines but Cavan got their noses in front early in the half when Dara McVeety got away from Mark Griffin and finished brilliantly past Brendan Kealy for the game’s only goal.
The sides would trade punches from there but when Bryan Sheehan put the Kingdom two clear with 68 minutes on the clock, they looked like they might have done enough.
But Conor Moynagh closed the gap for Mattie McGleenan’s men before Johnston levelled things up in injury time to ensure the shares would be spoiled.
SCORERS - Cavan: D McVeety 1-0, C Madden (1f), G McKiernan (2f), N MCDermott (2f) 0-2 each, C Moynagh, K Clarke, N Clerkin, S Johnston (1f) 0-1 each.
Kerry: P Geaney 0-5 (5f), B Sheehan 0-3 (2f), BJ Keane 0-2, D Walsh, J Barry, P Murphy 0-1 each.
Cavan: R Galligan; K Brady, K Clarke, F Reilly; R Dunne, C Moynagh, N Murray; T Corr, G McKiernan; M Reilly, D McVeety, N Clerkin; J Dillon, C Madden, G Smith SUBS: J McLoughlin for K Bardy (BC 19), C Mackey for Clerkin (40), N McDermott for Madden (46), C Brady for Smith (50), S Murray for Dunne (65), S Johnston for Dillon (68).
Kerry: B Kealy; F Fitzgerald, M Griffin, R Shanahan; P Crowley, T Morley, P Murphy; D Moran, J Barry; A Spillane, K McCarthy, D Walsh; J Savage, P Geaney, S O’Brien SUBS: D O’Sullivan for McCarthy (BC 9), B Sheehan for Spillane (28), BJ Keane for Savage (40), A Maher for O’Sullivan (55), J Lyne for Crowley (61), M Geaney for Barry (62).
Referee: M Deegan (Laois).