Keating pounces to salvage draw for Cavan
Gritty Cavan pulled a result from the fire at Markievicz Park when substitute Eugene Keating's fisted goal in added time secured a draw against hosts who three times surrendered promising leads.
The visitors came from five points down, 2-9 to 0-10, with five minutes of normal time remaining to dig out a result that maintains their promotion push while Sligo, despite making an improvement on their display against Monaghan, find themselves in the relegation places.
The home team, who were lifted by a goal in each half, finished the game with 14 players due to Adrian McIntyre's 70th-minute dismissal for a second yellow card. Keating and fellow substitute Barry Reilly turned things around for Cavan.
Reilly scored four points, two from play, and also created the goalscoring opportunity with a 'Hail Mary' ball into Sligo's goalmouth in the second minute of time added on.
Sligo, with ex-Mayo player James Kilcullen starting at midfield and Francis Quinn deployed at centre-forward in a revamped attack, played with intent in the first half and were 1-5 to 0-2 up after 21 minutes.
The goal came from Shane McManus' 17th-minute shot after a move involving Francis Quinn and full-forward Pat Hughes, who did well overall as a target man.
But Sligo failed to score for the last 14 minutes of the first half as Cavan whittled away at the deficit with four points without reply, including scores from Martin Dunne, David Givney and wing-back Damien O'Reilly, to trail by only two points at the break, 1-5 to 0-6.
Stephen Gilmartin's 54th-minute goal, after a Hughes shot had been parried, again revived Sligo.
But this five-point advantage (2-7 to 0-8), and a similar lead after Adrian Marren pointed his fifth free of the afternoon, was never protected.
Man of the match: B Reilly (Cavan)
Scorers – Sligo: S McManus 1-1, A Marren 0-5 (5f), S Gilmartin 1-0, J Kilcullen, M Breheny (f), P Hughes 0-1 each. Cavan: B Reilly 0-4 (2f), E Keating 1-0, N McDermott (1f), G McKiernan 0-2 each, M Dunne, D Givney, C Mackey, D O'Reilly 0-1 each.
Sligo – P Greene 6; C Harrison 6, J Martyn 6, R Donovan 6; K Cawley 5, A McIntyre 5, B Curran 5; S Gilmartin 6, J Kilcullen 7; S McManus 5, F Quinn 7, B Egan 5; M Breheny 5, P Hughes 7, A Marren 6.
Cavan – A O'Mara 6; K Brady 6, J McEnroe 5, O Minagh 6; K Mehan 6, A Clarke 6, D O'Reilly 6; T Corr 6, G McKiernan 7; C Mackey 7, M Reilly 5, M McKeever 5; N McDermott 5, M Dunne 5, D Givney 6. Subs: E Keating 6 for Dunne (52), B Reilly 8 for Reilly (52), J Reilly 5 for O'Mara (56), P Reilly 5 for Brady (60).
Ref – E O'Grady (Leitrim).