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Magee earns Breffni boys draw at the death

Clare 1-12 Cavan 2-9

Clare led for most of their tie with Cavan, but it finished honours even (stock picture)
Clare led for most of their tie with Cavan, but it finished honours even (stock picture)

The honours were shared in Ennis yesterday as hosts Clare and Cavan played out an entertaining draw in the opening round of Allianz Football League Division 2.

Clare for their part will feel that they left this one behind as they led for most of the tie, yet had to come from behind to gain a share of the spoils.

Cavan got off to the brightest of starts and had the ball in the Clare net 50 seconds in. A good defensive effort from the throw-in allowed the visitors to work the ball up the field. Conor Madden, Dara McVeety and Caoimhin O'Reilly combined with O'Reilly planting the ball in the top of Killian Roche's net.

But the Banner responded well and levelled matters by the sixth minute with points by Conor Finnucane, Eoin Cleary (free) and a Keelan Sexton effort.

The home side enjoyed a strong breeze at their backs in the opening half and took full advantage of it. Despite succumbing to the early goal, they went on to boss proceedings with Gary Brennan and Cathal O'Connor dominant in the middle.

Eimhin Courtney grabbed a fortuitous Clare goal on 12 minutes after Cavan 'keeper Raymond Galligan's short clearing handpass was intercepted.

Cavan's last score of the half came in the 16th minute from an O'Reilly free and when the half-time whistle sounded, Clare deservedly led by 1-7 to 1-2.

Cavan were guilty of poor finishing and a prime example of that was just before half-time when Killian Clarke soloed at will through the Clare defence, only to disappointingly shoot wide of the mark.

In the second period, the inexperienced Cavan outfit, who began with ten league debutants, shipped two early scores to their opponents.

Gary Brennan and Gearóid O'Brien added points to put seven between them after just 37 minutes but the Breffni pulled two back through sub Cian Mackey to keep them in the hunt.

Midway through the half, Clare lost concentration a little and Cavan pounced. Team captain Dara McVeety capitalised on sloppy defensive play and punched past Killian Roche in the Banner goal. Ciarán Brady and Adrian Cole immediately added two further points and in a flash there was just a point between them (1-10 to 2-6).

McVeety levelled matters and Oisín Kiernan put the Ulster men in front with three minutes remaining. Eoin Cleary and Keelan Sexton's points regained the Clare lead but deep into injury time Bryan Magee saved the day for Cavan with a pointed free.

Scorers - Clare: E Cleary 0-4 (2fs); E Courtney 1-0; G O'Brien, C Finnucane, K Sexton 0-2 each; G Brennan (f), C O'Connor 0-1 each. Cavan: C O'Reilly (1f) and D McVeety 1-1; C Mackey, B Magee 0-2 each; C Brady, A Cole, A Kiernan 0-1 each.

Clare: K Roche; C O'Dea, C Brennan, G Kelly; J Malone, C Russell, P Lillis; G Brennan (capt), C O'Connor; A Sweeney, E Cleary, G O'Brien; E Courtney, K Sexton, C Finnucane. Subs: D Bohannon for G Brennan (BC, 59), K Malone for Sweeney (60), S O'Donoghue for Courtney (65),C Brady for McKiernan (69).

Cavan: R Galligan; D Monahan, P Faulkner, D Phillips; D Kennedy, C Brady, O Kiernan; K Clarke, J Wharton; E Flanagan, D McVeety (capt), D Brady; C O'Reilly, B Magee, C Madden. Subs: C Moyna for Wharton (23), C Mackey for Kennedy (h-t), N McKiernan for Madden (h-t), A Cole for D Brady (41), R Connolly for O'Reilly (64).

Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow)

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