Ramor United 0-9
by Shane Corrigan
at Kingspan Breffni
Cian Mackey's 64th minute free helped Castlerahan gain sweet revenge over Ramor United this afternoon and advance back into the Cavan senior football championship final.
In what was an airtight contest played in perfect conditions at Kingspan Breffni, Donal Keogan's side kicked the last three scores - all of which came from their flame-haired talisman - to win out by the minimum and set-up a final date with Cavan Gaels on October 8th.
These two neighboured sides couldn't be separated during what was a low-scoring opening 30 minutes, but the defending champions from Virginia made some headway in the middle of the second-half with points from substitute Simon Cadden and Stephen Monaghan (2).
The margin stood at two with 57 minutes played and from there on out last year's beaten finalists dug their very deepest, putting their faith in Mackey to get them over the line which he dually did.
Ramor opened their account first with a Jack Brady free after three minutes but it was their Ballyjamesduff neighbours that were in the ascendancy two minutes afterwards thanks to points from Sean Brady and Mackey in their full-forward line.
Both sides missed chances and defences were certainly on top for the majority of a first-half which Mackey landed the best score in come the 18th minute.
The Cavan forward gathered possession out around the centre and pulled the trigger right on the 45-metre line to make it 0-3 to 0-1 prior to a sweeping move at the far end, involving Adrian Cole and James Bradley, releasing Cathal Maguire through the centre to raise the umpire's white flag.
James Brady squared the sides in the 22nd minute with a fine 40-metre effort but Keogan's charges were determined to keep their noses in front shooting into the town end goal.
Mackey orchestrated their fourth and final score of the half with some patient build-up play that allowed corner-back Stephen Cooney to arrive on cue and slot over Aogan Cahill's crossbar.
Cole escaped the shackles of Paul Smith long enough to kick another leveller for the champions, leaving it at 0-4 apiece for the interval and everything to play for in the second-half.
Keogan introduced speedster Oisin O'Connell to the Castlerahan attack within four minutes of the second-half and that front line found more joy in the early stages of the resumption.
An eye-catching 40-metre effort from Cian McEnroe off his favoured left boot got backed up by Mackey in the same minute, as the men from Fay Park looked to get motoring in a similar manner which saw them take over against Cootehill in the second-half of their quarter-final victory last weekend.
Cadden's point - immediately after being introduced for James Bradley - ensured the momentum wouldn't be carried however, with the substitute having been slipped through splendidly by Jack Brady, and they'd be back level for a fourth time once midfield stalwart Monaghan found his range from some 40 metres.
A free from that man Monaghan was quickly erased by Cormac Daly to keep it even at 0-7 each with 48 minutes played but when the former and substitute Kevin Mulvany fashioned back-to-back scores a two-point margin was looking like enough for Ramor with three minutes left in regulation.
Two quick points from Mackey (one a free) in the 59th and 60th minutes made it anyone's ball game though and in the seven minutes that were added on the momentum was firmly with the men from Ballyjamesduff.
After patiently waiting to draw a brick from the Ramor wall, Castlerhan got their full reward when Ronan Flanagan spotted Daniel Lynch's run behind and his perfect pass put the substitute through, forcing a foul and Mackey coolly stroked the free over.
Ramor hunted desperately for an equaliser as a handful of off the ball incidents broke out which saw the dismissal of Monaghan on a second caution before their last effort in this year's championship dropped the wrong side of Jamie Leahy's post and Castlerahan held on.
Castlerahan: Jamie Leahy; Stephen Cooney (0-1), Oisin Kiernan, Enda O'Connell; Paul Smith, Fergal Reilly, Pauric Smith; Cormac Daly (0-1), David Wright; Cian McEnroe (0-1), Ronan Flanagan, Gavin Daly; Sean Brady (0-1), Cian Mackey (0-6, 2f), Enda Flanagan. Subs: Oisin O'Connell for S Brady (34mins), Killian McEnroe for E O'Connell (41), Daniel Lynch for G Daly (47), Fergal Flanagan for C McEnroe (56).
Ramor United: Aoghan Cahill; Micheál Smart, Mark Magee, Pauric O'Connell; Adam O'Connell, Damien Barkey, Eoin Somerville; Stephen Monaghan (0-3, 1f), James McEnroe; Cathal Maguire (0-1), James Bradley, Jack Doyle; James Brady (0-1), Adrian Cole (0-1), Jack Brady (0-1). Subs: Simon Cadden (0-1) for J Bradley (37mins), Matthew Magee for M Smart (41), Kevin Mulvany (0-1) for C Maguire (49).
Ref: Mickey Lee (Drumalee)