Dublin claim slender win over Cavan in absorbing encounter
Dublin 0-11 Cavan 0-10
A late, late Dublin show saw Dessie Farrell’s youngsters keep alive their hopes of a second U21 All-Ireland title in three years.
Dublin timed their run perfectly to edge an nail biting encounter but the game ended in controversy with referee Derek O’Mahoney escorted from a field to a chorus of jeers from Cavan supporters.
They felt that Conor McHugh should have been black carded before kicking the equalising point while they also took issue with the awarding of the late free to Dublin on the end of normal time that proved to be the decisive score of the game.
Cormac Costello pointed from that placed ball after Gavin Ivory was fouled and that was the first time Dublin led as the clocked ticked into injury-time.
Cavan had set the pace for much of the game as Dublin struggled to break down their packed defence in the first half as the Ulster champions gave little away.
At the other end, Dublin were affording a huge amount space to the remaining Cavan forwards, especially Joe Dillon, flourished at this stage.
His battle with Davy Byrne was one of the highlights of the half but the Kingscourt man was in fine form in front of goal and he had wracked up three points before the short whistle.
Wing back Ciaran Brady also got in on the scoring act but might have had a goal, only to see his shot deflected over the bar.
Dublin were less efficient and had regsistered eight wides after the first 30 minutes but they began to settle as the half wore on and created a couple of clear cut goal chances of their own.
First Jack McCaffrey pulled his shot wide when he broke through before late in the first half, patient build-up play eventually saw Brian Fenton send Cormac Costello clear but his effort was well saved by James Farrelly.
Costello made amends with the final score of the half to leave just two points between the sides at the break (0-7 to 0-5).
However, Cavan would score just three more points in the second half and as they tired, Dublin turned the screw.
Farrell used his bench to good effect but it was Costello had the final say with his late free to help his side advance to the All-Ireland final with Roscommon on May 3.