Friday 23 March 2018

Cavan rage at late calls as Dubs snatch final berth

Dublin 0-11 Cavan 0-10 (All-Ireland U21 FC semi-final)

Gerry Smith, Cavan, in action against Niall Walsh, Dublin
Gerry Smith, Cavan, in action against Niall Walsh, Dublin
Cavan goalkeeper James Farrelly in action against Paul Mannion, Dublin
Yorkshire terrier and Dublin 'supporter' Marley waits for a treat from her owner Maria Farrell, from Kilbarrack, Dublin, after the game

Jackie Cahill

REFEREE Derek O'Mahoney had to be escorted off the pitch following Dublin's dramatic victory over Cavan in Portlaoise.

Cavan fans cried foul after O'Mahoney handed Cormac Costello (pictured) the chance to seal Dublin's place in the final with an injury-time free.

Gavin Ivory struck the outside of the post with an attempted shot for a point but O'Mahoney whistled back for a free having allowed the Dublin sub an advantage seconds earlier.

And Cavan were also raging when Dublin forward Conor McHugh hauled the Sky Blues level for the first time in the game with four minutes remaining.

The Na Fianna hitman was lucky to avoid a black card just a couple of minutes before his crucial intervention on the scoreboard, with O'Mahoney opting instead for yellow.

Midway through the second half, O'Mahoney had flashed a black card but the recipient was Cavan forward Joe Dillion, who had kicked three points from play.

Costello's match-winner handed Dublin the lead for the very first time in the game – and sealed a narrow win after Dessie Farrell's charges had trailed by four points in the second half.

In a real dogfight, the Leinster champions inched their way back into contention and eventually set up a final meeting with Roscommon next month.

And now Dublin have the chance to claim a third under 21 crown in five seasons when they tackle the gritty Connacht kingpins.

Cavan led by 0-7 to 0-5 at the end of a first half that saw Dublin register nine wides.

A diagonal crossfield breeze that favoured the Breffni boys in the opening half may have been a contributing factor but Dublin were below par from the start, despite the presence of All-Ireland senior heroes Jack McCaffrey and Paul Mannion in the starting line-up.

And the Sky Blues also made three changes before throw-in, with Stephen Cunningham, Shane Carthy and Michael Deegan replaced by Shane Boland, Niall Walsh and Brian Fenton. Two of the three players introduced, Walsh and Boland, were replaced in the second half.

The game's first score did not arrive until the eighth minute, when Cavan's Tom Hayes, a late replacement for Kevin Boucher, found the target.

A minute later, Ciarán Brady surged forward to send a deflected shot over the crossbar, when a goal was there for the taking.

McHugh, scorer of two first half points, opened Dublin's account in the tenth minute but Cavan added further scores from Michael Argue and the impressive Dillion to open up a 0-4 to 0-1 lead.

Scorers – Dublin: C Costello 0-4 (2f), C McHugh 0-3, N Scully, P Mannion, E Ó'Conghaile, G Ivory 0-1 each; Cavan: J Dillion 0-3, T Hayes & E Flanagan (2f), 0-2 each, C Brady, M Argue, K Bouchier 0-1 each

Dublin: L Molloy; D Byrne, R McGowan, R McDaid; J Small, J McCaffrey, B Fenton; E Lowndes, P O'Higgins; N Scully, S Boland, N Walsh; C Costello, C McHugh, P Mannion. Subs: E Ó'Conghaile for Higgins (26), G Burke for Walsh (39), G Ivory for Boland (39), S Cunningham for Scully (56).

Cavan: J Farrelly; A Watson, K Clarke, B Fortune; C Brady, P Faulkner, G Smith; C.P. Moynagh, L Buchanan; P Graham, D McVeety, M Argue; E Flanagan, J Dillon, T Hayes. Subs: A O'Hara for Moynagh (23), B Bouchier for Dillion (b/c, 47), CP Moynagh for Fortune (49), C Byrne for Flanagan (51), E Hession for Graham (55), G McGovern for Buchanan (60+1).

Referee: D O'Mahoney (Tipperary).

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