IFC: Brady breaks Belturbet's hearts

September 19, 2015

Conal Sheridan (Arva) with Belturbet's Stuart Dunne and Damien O`Reilly during the Cavan IFC semi final at Breffni Park

Arva 2-10
Belturbet 1-10

Ciaran Brady's injury-time goal will see Arva contest back-to-back championship finals after denying Belturbet in this evening intermediate semi-final clash at Kingspan Breffni Park.

In a dead even contest, Arva saved their best for last as they hit 1-2 in injury-time to devastate Mark Monaghan's side, whom looked to have the game won heading into the added minutes largely thanks to Enda Henry's 0-8 contribution.

The winners goaled early in this contest but only led by one at the break before conceding a goal themselves four minutes into the second-half via Rories' talisman Jason O'Reilly, whom may well have played his last championship game for a club he's given great service to.

After that, the pressure was on Arva to come up with a response, which they did thanks to the accurate shooting of Conal Sheridan, Jonathan McCabe and Peter Morris, but through Henry Belturbet were able to keep ahead into the dying minutes.

It was then that Sheridan brought his personal tally up to 0-7 before Brady hit the net, albeit under fortuitous circumstances, to completely astound the men in maroon and send Arva into an intermediate decider with Ballyhaise.

Brendan Fitzpatrick had Belturbet's account opened with a point after 40 seconds but Arva responded in the best possible manner with Sheridan slipping Peter Conneely through one on one with Danny Anscombe and the corner-forward slipped the ball low past the Belturbet 'keeper.

Henry (free) and Cian Vaughan soon brought the Rories level, as they edged the battle at centre-field for the first quarter.

Henry's second free ushered Belturbet back into the lead but in Sheridan Arva also had a reliable man in front of the posts, as he stroked over two more from placed balls to hand the initiative back to the Longford border outfit.

Some brave work at the back from James Morris saw Arva avoid disaster beforehand, with the threat of an early O'Reilly goal in the cards, but Belturbet settled for Henry's first from open play instead.

In similar fashion to their quarter-final win over Swanlinbar, the wides count continued to pile up for the men from O'Moore Park and it was the reason they trailed 1-4 to 0-6 at half-time, as Peter Morris shot over from the wing on the interval's eve.

To put it simply, Belturbet's start to the second-half was as good as they could've hoped for. Henry drilled over a free with some nice technique and the midfielder lashed over his second from play in the next attack to queue a huge roar from the Rories' contingent, and they'd be back on their feet again shortly after.

After great work from Fitzpatrick down the left flank, the former Cavan senior crossed a perfect pass to O'Reilly, who rose highest above Shane McEntee to fist to the net, leaving Arva with it all to do for the ensuing 25 minutes.

To their credit, the junior champions recovered well from the blow. Two Sheridan frees were quickly backed up by sub Dermot McGlade sending Peter Morris through for his second and once current 'Junior Footballer of the Year' McCabe slotted over from the right flank they were level and had all the momentum.

A fine fetch from Donal McDonald, on in place of Niall O'Reilly at half-time, saw the substitute earn a free in a suitable position for Henry to chalk up his seventh score of the evening. The tide was well and truly stemmed once Henry broke on to loose possession close to goal and dribbled by an opponent soccer style, before firing over McEntee's crossbar.

Two points up with three minutes of regulation left, Belturbet were very much in a winning position and Arva would have to wait until injury-time to do the rest of their scoring.

A black card for Conal McGinley didn't help the Rories' cause and neither did two more frees from Sheridan, the second of which saw brave work from Kevin Bouchier carried out to earn his team mate the 62nd minute leveller.

Coming up to the four added minutes, Belturbet were made sweat it out as Brian Doyle's men pressed them one last time and got the vital pressure on a desperation clearance which was intercepted and fed to Brady, who cut in from the wing and send a low shot past Anscombe for a win which left the Arva contingent in a euphoric state.

The St Patrick's club now prepare to face Ballyhaise, last year's beaten finalists, in a showdown for the Tommy Gilroy Cup on October 4.

Arva: Shane McEntee; Danny Ellis, James Morris, Paul Bouchier; Cormac McCabe, Ciaran Brady (1-0), Thomas Brady; Cian Sheridan, Fergal McGlade; Conor McEntee, Kevin Bouchier, Peter Morris (0-2); Jonathan McCabe (0-1), Conal Sheridan (0-7, 7f), Peter Conneely (1-0). Subs: Shane Hamilton for C McEntee (30), Dermot McGlade for D Ellis (HT), Ryan McGahern for P Conneely (49).

Belturbet: Danny Anscombe; Conal McGinley, Peter Shannon, Mark Lawlor; Shane Fitzpatrick, Kevin McConnell, Stuart Dunne; Enda Henry (0-8, 6f), Eoin McGuigan; Cian Vaughan (0-1), Damien O'Reilly, Niall Lalwor; Niall O'Reilly, Brendan Fitzpatrick (0-1), Jason O'Reilly (1-0). Subs: Donal McDonald for N O'Reilly (HT).

Ref: Gerry Sheridan (Mullahoran)

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