SF Qualifier: Breffni men scrape past luckless Mourne County

June 23, 2018

Cavan's Martin Reilly with Darren O'Hagan of Down.
©INPHO/John McVitty.

Cavan are through to Monday morning's third-round draw after edging out Down by 1-14 to 0-15 at Enniskillen.

Lady Luck deserted the losers in the sunshine this evening as just about anything that could go wrong did and their opponents took full advantage.

Cavan made most of the early running but Down knocked over six of the last seven points before the break to lead by 0-10 to 0-8.

Seanie Johnston opened the scoring from a first-minute free and his twelfth-minute conversion made it 0-5 to 0-2 in the Breffni County's favour before Connaire Harrison cancelled out a Gearoid McKiernan effort.

Conor Bradley and Ronan Millar (free) then traded scores, but Kevin McKernan had the Mourne men back within two points at the midway stage in the first half. Corner back Anthony Doherty halved the deficit and Millar equalised from a 25th-minute free - Down's third without reply.

However, the Mourne men then received a massive double blow when Harrison and McKernan - arguably their two most influential players - were both black-carded within seconds of each other.

Midfielder Peter Turley nevertheless pointed them on front only for opposing No.8 Sean McCormack to reply. Substitute Niall Madine had the Down men back in front and Sean Dornan registered in injury time to ensure that the gap was two at the short whistle.

Niall Murray and David McKibbin traded the first two scores of the second half and Millar (free) and Dornan pushed the Mourne County four ahead. But this was as good as it got for the losers, who received another massive body blow when Ryan Johnston's straight red card saw them reduced to 14 men. They'd also lost Caolan Mooney to injury.

Nineteen minutes into the second half, McKiernan's fortuitous goal pared the Cavan deficit down to the minimum; Murray duly equalised with eleven minutes remaining. Ciaran Brady delivered the lead point in the 61st minute and Oisin Kiernan replied to a Millar score from play.

Padraig Faulkner doubled the gap and Doherty hit back with an injury-time Down free. Darren O'Hagan almost won  it for Down late on but was denied by James Farrelly and McKiernan's point sealed it four minutes into added time as Eamonn Burns' charges crashed out. In heated scenes after the final whistle, Cavan pair Conor Moynagh and Dara McVeety and Doherty were all sent off.

Cavan - J Farrelly; K Brady, P Faulkner (0-1), E Flanagan; C Brady (0-2), C Moynagh, M Reilly; S McCormack (0-1), B Magee; O Kiernan (0-1), G McKiernan (1-2), N Murray (0-2); C Bradley (0-1), D McVeety (0-1), S Johnston (0-3f). Subs: F Reilly for K Brady, C Mackey for S Johnston, C O'Reilly for B Magee, A Cole for S McCormack, N Clerkin for O Kiernan, J McLoughlin for E Flanagan.

Down - S Harrison; R McAleenan, B McArdle, A Doherty (0-4f); D O'Hagan, N McParland, C Mooney; P Turley (0-1), N Donnelly; R Millar (0-4, 3f), K McKernan (0-1), C Maginn (0-1); S Dornan (0-2), C Harrison (0-1), R Johnston. Subs: D McKibbin (0-1) for K McKernan (BC), N Madine for C Harrison (BC), J Flynn for C Mooney, C Poland for N Donnelly.

Referee - C Reilly.

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