Cavan Gaels 0-10
Cavan SFC champions Cavan Gaels will not be retaining their crown next month after Kingscourt Stars upset them in tonight's quarter-final at Kingspan Breffni Park.
Barry Reilly's 0-8 contribution was salient for the winners, who ran up a 0-6 to nothing lead after the opening seven minutes to leave their opponents on the back foot.
Ace attackers Sean Johnston and Martin Dunne eventually ignited the Gaels with some fine shooting in the second quarter, leaving the teams all square on 0-8 apiece by the break, with the momentum seemingly in the Cavan town men's favour.
Kingscourt made the better start to the second-half though with Cian McArdle and Reilly (free) rifling over scores but they'd lose former Cavan junior captain Philip Tinnelly to a second yellow card at a crucial juncture, as Dominic Corrigan's men pulled level with five minutes to go.
A betting man would've put his money on the champions at that stage, but the Meath border men dug their deepest in those closing stages, earning frees for the deadly Reilly to convert, which he dually did, to end the Gaels' campaign.
Niall Lynch's men started this game superbly to the point where they nearly threatened to go out of sight. Keith McCabe had them up and running inside a minute with a sweet point ahead of Reilly and Darragh Gunne keeping the same umpire's arm busy for the first three minutes.
Reilly was red hot early on in this quarter-final, adding a long range free and a '45' to his tally, as the Stars' front men worked like demons inside in the opening stages. None more so than Christy McGowan, who looped over his side's sixth after Paul O'Connor had went for maximum profit from the Gaels' first legitimate attack and saw his effort parried by Gavin Sheenan in the Kingscourt goal.
A Dunne free eventually had the Gaels off the mark after eight minutes and they went on somewhatof a rampage from their with talisman Johnston to the fore.
The former Cavan and Kildare senior struck 0-4 from play to bring his side level, with Dunne and Reilly cancelling each other out from 45s, as the scoreboard read 0-8 each at half-time.
Corrigan had replaced four of his starting 15 less than 10 minutes into the second-half, but it didn't seem to pay immediate dividends as the Stars were two up again after their sub Cian McArdle blasted over a goal chance and Reilly tacked on his fifth free.
Dunne and Vinny Coyle, on in place of Daniel Graham, notched frees to leave things even ahead of Tinnelly getting his marching orders off the back of a second caution from referee Ollie Donohoe.
The closing minutes were high octane, with a late Gaels victory looking more likely, it must be said.
However, Kingscourt rose to the occasion and got the lead point a minute from time after defensive commander Alan Clarke, their captain when they bettered the Gaels in 2010, carried possession to McArdle, who got himself fouled in a perfect position for Reilly to sail over off the ground.
Now within touching distance of a place in the last four, the underdogs dually grabbed it with both hands, earning another free for Reilly to covert from 40 metres plus with the pressure on.
The Cavan senior nailed it, along with the Gaels' coffin, advancing Kingscourt to an unlikely victory, given thier defeats to Mullahoran and Ramor United, now both ousted, in the earlier rounds.
Lynch's side now face a high-flying Killygarry, who upset Mullahoran in the earlier quarter-final with a convincing 2-14 to 2-8 score-line, while Castlerahan meet Killeshandra in the other semi-final in what is a rematch of the opening round which saw the latter win by 12 points.
Kingscourt Stars: Gavin Sheenan; Rory Sheridan, Padraig Faulkner, Shane Grey; Philip Tinnelly, Noel McIntyre, Keith McCabe (0-1); Barry Reilly (0-8, 5f, 2 45s), Ciaran Gorman; Ryan Carey, Christy McGowan (0-1), Peter Corrigan; Darragh Gunne (0-1), Joe Dillion, Alan Clarke. Subs: Cian McArdle (0-1) for R Sheridan (30), Philly Smith for C Gorman (47), Barry Tully for Noel McIntyre (57), Mossy Malone for R Carey (59).
Cavan Gaels: Martin Cassidy; Kevin Meehan, Niall Gurhy, Barry Fortune; Levi Murphy, Darragh Sexton, Niall Murray (0-1); Paul Graham, Robert Maloney-Derham; Daniel Graham, Micheál Lyng, Marc Leddy; Sean Johnston (0-4), Paul O'Connor, Martin Dunne (0-4, 2f, 2 45s). Subs: Vinny Coyle (0-1, 1f) for D Graham (HT), Stephen Murray for L Murphy (HT), Niall Smith for N Murray (36), N Murray for M Leddy (39), Andrew Graham for D Sexton (49).
Ref: Ollie Donohoe (Knockbride)