Cavan strike late to force a dramatic draw against Tyrone
Cavan 3-7 Tyrone 0-16
CAVAN snatched a dramatic equalising goal in the 72nd minute of this absorbing Ulster semi-final to earn a replay against pre-match favourites Tyrone. The replay has been scheduled for Sunday, July 3 in Clones.
Moments before David Givney fisted the ball to the Tyrone net Cavan goalkeeper Raymond Galligan had denied Tyrone substitute Padraig McNulty a match winning goal.
When another Tyrone substitute Darren McCurry nailed the resultant 45 to give Mickey Harte's side a three point advantage for the first time they looked destined to secure their first Ulster final appearance since 2010.
But in an absorbing contest there was still plenty of drama left.
Cavan, who hadn't scored in the previous 20 minutes, launched one last despairing attack and finally breached the massed Tyrone defence. Going down the right flank, a quick exchange of passes between Cian Mackey and substitute Ciaran Brady created the opening and the latter's cross was palmed to the net by Givney for his second goal of the afternoon.
Tyrone, who overall were the better team in the sodden conditions, had two chances to win it at the death. But McCurry missed a 45 and then after Sean Cavanagh had set up centre back Niall Sludden, he dropped his effort short.
Finally in the fifth minute of injury time referee David Gough blew his long whistle. Coincidentally the two sides also finished level when they last played in the championship in the 2005 Ulster semi-final. Tyrone comfortably won that replay but they might not be quite as confident about the outcome the next day.
Cavan will take a lot of encouragement from their performance. Granted goals rescued them at vital times and they went 23 minutes without a score in the first half and 22 minutes in the second when they failed to raise a flag.
They kicked 13 wides but credit is due to the massed Tyrone defence who put huge pressure on the Cavan kickers and forced them to take shots from distance at times. But overall they will feel they can do better.
For Tyrone, issues about the durability of their full-back line came to the fore while Mickey Harte had replaced his enitre half forward line by the 50th minute.
What will probably worry them most is that this is the second time this season they have been caught at the death with a late goal – Armagh scored an equalising goal against them in the league. There was a time when they had mastered the art of closing out games.
Apart from making two changes in personnel, Cavan boss Terry Hyland sprung a big surprise by switching full back Killian Clarke to the edge of the square. Initially the move appeared to have worked with Cavan going 1-1 to no score ahead after seven minutes.
The goal came after an incisive run from Martin Reilly from the left flank took him into the danger zone and while his shot was smothered by Tyrone's Michael O'Neill, David Givney stabbed the loose ball over the line.
Tyrone gradually worked their way back into the contest and had drawn level by the 29th minute as the Cavan scoring completely dried, partially because they were deploying just one forward – Givney.
Coming up to the break Tyrone were in control having scored six points on the spin when disaster struck. A long free from Cavan goalkeeper Galligan was punched over the line by Conor Moynagh despite the best efforts of Colm Cavanagh. The ball was actually hacked clear but after consulting his umpire the referee correctly awarded the goal.
So despite being outplayed for 20 minutes Cavan led 2-3 to 0-8 at the break. While Tyrone scored the first two points of the second half Cavan then hit a golden patch hitting the next three scores – the latter the point of the match from Niall Murray to give the challengers a 2-7 to 0-10 advantage.
But Tyrone controlled the closing 20 minutes of the tie hitting six unanswered points. At that point it didn't seem to matter that Tyrone's free taking was again suspect – between them Connor McAliskey and Ronan O'Neill missed three kickable efforts. But in the end those misses caught up with them when Givney hit his second goal to tie up the contest for a final time.
Tyrone: M O'Neill; C McCarron, R McNamee, A McCrory; T McCann, N Sludden (0-1), P Harte (0-1); C Cavanagh (0-1), M Donnelly (0-2); C McShane (0-1), M Bradley, R Donnelly (0-1); C McAliskey (0-2), S Cavanagh (0-1), R O'Neill (0-5, 3f). Subs: R Brennan for Bradley ht; C Meyler for McShane 41m; D McCurry 0-1, 1 45) for R Donnelly 50m; P McNulty for McAliskey 65m.
Cavan: R Galligan (0-1, 1 45); F Flanagan (0-1), R Dunne, K Brady; J McEnroe, C Moynagh (1-0), N Murray (0-1); T Corr (0-1), G McKiernan, D McVeety (0-1), S Johnston (0-1, 1f), M Reilly; C Mackey (0-1), K Clarke, D Givney (2-0) Subs: E Keating for Johnston 58m; C Brady for K Brady 65m; P Faulkner for Clarke 65m; J Brady for Moynagh 67m, G Smith for McEnroe 71m.
Referee: David Gough (Meath)