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Cavan battle to gritty triumph

Cavan dragged themselves through the pain barrier to qualify for their third All-Ireland under 21 football championship final with victory over Wexford at Parnell Park last night.

Just three days after defeating Tyrone in the Ulster final, the Breffni lads produced another passionate performance.

Cavan took an early lead through Niall McDermott and wing-back Michael Brady but as tired legs began to weigh heavily on the Ulster champions, Wexford began to make inroads.

Conor Carty steered over a couple of points, and midfielder Michael O'Regan thumped over a huge free-kick from 55 metres to ease them in front just before the break.

But the sides went in level at 0-4 each after Barry Reilly had stroked over a Cavan free.

McDermott smacked home a goal three minutes into the second half, but, inspired by O'Regan, the Leinster champions narrowed the gap with two Carty frees.

However, in the final quarter, the Ulster men summoned the energy to make a final push for glory, with Packie Leddy playing a starring role.

Gearoid McKiernan powered over a point and Jack Brady added three to steer the Breffni Blues to a courageous success.

Scorers -- Cavan: N McDermott 1-2, J Brady 0-3 (1f), B Reilly 0-2 (2f), G McKernan, N Smith, M Brady 0-1 each. Wexford: C Carty 0-5 (3f), M O'Regan (f), K Kehoe, D Murphy 0-1 each.

Cavan: A O'Mara; F Flanagan, O Minagh, D Tighe; K Meehan, D Barkey, M Brady; G McKiernan, M Leddy; N Smith, N Murray, B Reilly; J Brady, N McDermott, P Leddy. Subs: P King for M Leddy, T Mooney for M Brady, C McClarey for Smith, K Tierney for Reilly, C Smith for P Leddy

Wexford: R Farrell; M Furlong, S Gaule, J Breen; D Butler, J Leacy, C Carty; M O'Hanlon, M O'Regan; L McGovern, E Kent, P Kelly; K O'Grady, K Kehoe, B Halpin. Subs: D Murphy for Halpin, J Boggan for Kelly, B O'Gorman for Kent

Referee: P O'Sullivan (Kerry).

Sunday Indo Sport

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