Oak Leafers come good to sneak past a nervous Cavan
Derry 1-17 Cavan 0-18
Derry picked a good time to produce their best half of football under Damian Barton, advancing to the last 12 of the All-Ireland SFC series after a dramatic turnaround yesterday.
Fourteen-man Cavan were easily the better team in the first half but completely fell apart after the controversial straight red card for Fergal Flanagan in first-half stoppage time.
There was only one team in it after the interval, Derry outscoring a nervous home side by 13 points to seven to book a place in Round 4A. Livewire forward Niall Toner had a huge impact on the game, ripping holes in Cavan's rearguard with 0-3 from play while the Breffni bench added little as the game began to slip away. Derry's disciplined tackling forced lots of turnovers and Cavan couldn't contain their runners on the counter-attack.
Suffocating defensive game plans dominated the early exchanges. There were more scores than expected in a fairly lively first half, which Cavan won by 0-11 to 1-4. James Kielt, who was black-carded for a late tackle after just 25 minutes, opened the scoring in the sixth minute before Cavan reeled off three points in as many minutes from Cian Mackey, the excellent Dara McVeety and Gearoid McKiernan (free).
Derry clearly felt they could profit from a Cavan defence that leaked five goals to Tyrone 13 days earlier and sniffed out several first-half chances, but only took one. Ciaran McFaul's high diagonal ball floated into the square looked inviting, and Emmett McGuckin beat Rory Dunne in the air at the far post and slapped it into the net.
The goal had come slightly against the run of play and Cavan quickly set about re-establishing their credentials, outscoring Derry by six points to one in the next 15 minutes. Martin Reilly, a late inclusion in the starting team, scored twice from play with Cavan moving the ball at pace and working the openings.
Michael Argue and McVeety also scored from play, with a booming Mark Lynch point in the 15th minute Derry's sole score during a rocky patch. They trailed 0-9 to 1-2 after 25 minutes before Christopher Bradley stopped the rot with a fisted point. Lynch also tagged on a free as Derry managed to hang on. Some tenacious Oak Leaf tackling and Cavan's poor shooting kept them in touch, only four points adrift at the break.
Derry began the second half with real purpose - with Mark Lynch influential and Danny Heavron also scoring to reduce the deficit.
Cavan kept their noses in front through Raymond Galligan's frees but Derry were coming and coming, and it seemed inevitable they would draw level, which they finally did through Niall Loughlin's 45 after 63 minutes.
Lynch put Derry ahead in the 65th minute, the first time they'd led since the sixth minute, with Toner nailing 0-3 in the closing 10 minutes.
Scorers - Derry: M Lynch 0-7 (4f), E McGuckin 1-1, N Toner 0-3, D Heavron, E Lynn, N Loughlin (45) C Bradley, C McAtamney, J Kielt 0-1 each. Cavan: G McKiernan 0-4 (3f), R Galligan (3f), D McVeety 0-3 each, M Reilly 0-2, S Johnston (f), M Argue, C Mackey, C Moynagh, J Brady (f), G Smith 0-1 each.
Derry: T Mallon; G McKinless, C McKaigue, K McKaigue; C McFaul, B Rogers, C Mullan; C McAtamney, N Holly; D Heavron, C Bradley, E Brown; J Kielt, E McGuckin, M Lynch
Subs: E Lynn for Kielt (BC, 25), N Loughlin for Brown (31), N Toner for C Bradley (48), E Bradley for McAtamney (51), L McGoldrick for Rogers (61), N Forrester for McFaul (70)
Cavan: R Galligan; K Brady, R Dunne, P Faulkner; F Flanagan, C Moynagh, K Clarke; T Corr, G McKiernan; D McVeety, C Mackey, M Reilly; M Argue, J Brady, S Johnston. Subs: N Murray for Argue (HT), C Brady for Faulkner (46), J McLoughlin for K Brady (53), T Hayes for Johnston (57), G Smith for Corr (68), L Buchanan for Mackey (70)
Referee: E Kinsella (Laois)
Sunday Indo Sport