Tuesday 28 January 2020

O'Connell cameo lights Breffni way

Ulster MFC

Brian O'Connell came off the bench to turn a thrilling preliminary-round contest Cavan's way at Kingspan Breffni Park.

The Ramor United starlet stole the show with his fisted effort in added-time giving the hosts a dramatic victory. The Orchard County leaped into a 1-2 to 0-3 lead in the 11th minute when Joseph McElroy sidefooted to the net after some good work by James McDade.

However, in a game that always looked likely to go to the wire, points from Liam Galligan and Kian Monahan kept Cavan on their opponent's coat-tails.

By the 26th minute, the hosts had nipped into the lead, 0-7 to 1-3, thanks to a sweet left-footed effort by Ben Kiernan. Both sides adopted an almost cavalier approach to the game with some fluid football on display.

Armagh began the second half ahead by the minimum, 1-5 to 0-7, but on a perfect day for football, the pendulum swung back and forth.

The second half turned out to be a carbon copy of the first, with neither team managing to keep their hands on the tiller for anything other than fleeting minutes.

Indeed, the sides were again deadlocked, 0-11 to 1-8, with 10 minutes left to play after classy Armagh sub Eoghan Burns split the Cavan uprights with the outside of his boot.

Armagh always looked threatening going forward and Caolan McConville side-footed narrowly wide after Burns' inswinger eluded the Breffni full-back line.

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Roared on by their home support, Cavan stuck to their task, though, and in the last action of the day, young O'Connell hit the jackpot to secure another day out against Fermnagh for his side.

scorers – Cavan: R Connolly 0-4 (2fs), B Kiernan 0-3 (2fs), P Smith 0-2, L Galligan, K Monahan, T Hayes, B O'Connell 0-1 each. Armagh: J McElroy 1-2 (0-2fs), C McKenna 0-3, E Burns (1f), C Martin 0-2 each.

Cavan – S McDermott; B Fortune, B Kelly, D Monahan; C Bradley, M Magee, N Clerkin; K Monahan, G McGovern; P Smith, R Connolly, B Kiernan; T Hayes, L Galligan, D Brady. Subs: S McKeogh for D Monahan (h-t), D Gannon for P Smith (47), H O'Neill for D Brady (54), B O'Connell for S McKeogh (61).

Armagh – C Rafferty; C Connolly, S Heffron, P Campbell; J Cosgrove, M Finnegan, C McNicholl; A McKay, B Boylan; C McKenna, R Loughran, G McCabe; C Martin, J McElroy, J McDade. Subs: E Burns for C McNicholl (h-t), C McConville for R Loughran (50), C McCullagh for C Martin (55), D McKenna for M Finnegan (55).

Ref – I Molloy (Donegal)

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