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Cavan survive last-gasp scare to close in on semi-final spot

Cavan held out in nail-biting finish last night for two valuable points that could see them through to the McKenna Cup semi-finals in a game they had looked like winning comfortably.

The visitors got off to the better start in Inniskeen and opened a four-point lead within seven minutes, thanks to points by Keith Fannin, Michael Brennan, Thomas Corr and Eoin Smith.

Monaghan, without a win in the competition this season, got off the mark in the 10th minute through Ronan Meegan.

Cavan continued to dictate the pace in the second quarter and could have opened a substantial lead when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Michael Brennan, but Mark Keogh saved his second penalty of the competition to deny Brennan from the spot.

Nevertheless, the visitors went on to lead at half-time by 1-9 to 0-4, Brennan getting the goal just on the half hour to make amends for his fluffed penalty.

In the second half Monaghan were a transformed team and began to win possession in midfield.

They whittled Cavan's lead away with an unanswered goal and five points between the sixth and 19th minutes to level the game for the first time, Gavin Flanagan getting the goal.

That was as good as it got, though, with Cavan regaining the lead and just about keeping their noses in front in a close finish -- although had Monaghan converted a late penalty it could all have been so different.

Scorers -- Cavan: M Brennan 1-1, K Fannin, C Mackey (0-2f) 0-4 each, E Smith, T Corr, P O'Reilly, R Flanagan 0-1 each. Monaghan: P Finlay 0-8 (0-4f), G Flanagan 1-0, R Meegan, P Kieran, M Downey, J Turley 0-1 each.

Cavan -- J Reilly, P Cahill, E Smith, S Jordan, D O'Dowd, A Clarke, D O'Reilly, T Corr, P O'Reilly, K Fannin, A O'Reilly, R Flanagan, B Fitzpatrick, M Brennan, C Mackey.

Monaghan -- M Keogh, K Duffy, S Driver, D Connolly, D Mone, O Duffy, P Kieran, D Clerkin, B McKenna, G Flanagan, S Smyth, G Boyd, P Finlay, C Woods, R Meegan. Subs: M Downey for G Boyd, J Turley for C Woods, G Doogan for D Connolly. Ref -- C Brannigan (Down).

Irish Independent