Cavan minors pipped in thrilling MFC semi-final replay

July 07, 2005
It was real heartbreak for the Cavan minor footballers on Tuesday night last at Oliver Plunkett Park, Crossmaglen they were pipped by Down in the Ulster MFC semi-final replay by a late point scored by the Down midfielder, James Colgan. The final score in an absorbing contest between two talented sides was 0-13 to 1-9 in favour of the Mourne county. More than 6,000 people attended this replay - up on the drawn match by almost one thousand people and they were treated to a real thriller. The drawn match last Friday evening was exciting but the replay improved on that. Cavan looking composed and well coached looked the likely winners of the game for most of the match. They led by 0-4 to 0-1 after more than twenty minutes play in the first-half after Down had got the opening score inside 25 seconds from Colm Clerkin. However, the Down side came back strongly in the closing minutes of the half to equalise, and the sides retired at the interval all square 0-4 apiece. Cavan got a good start to the second-half with an early point from Raymond Galligan. However, back came the Down side with five points on the trot to go ahead by four. Then the game changed again dramatically in Cavan's favour when a long range free from Ray Galligan was flicked to the net by Bailieborough Shamrocks clubman, Killian Sheridan, and when Galligan pointed a free a minute later the sides were level. The sides exchanged points from Clarke and Cian Mackey before Killian Lynch gave the Cavan side the lead with the game entering its final ten minutes. Down as they did in the opening half finished the half strongly with points from Clarke and Peter Fitzpatrick, before Cavan were given a life-line when Galligan pointed a free with time almost up. James Colgan then became the Down hero when he pointed in the last minute, but alas for Cavan they had two scoring opportunities to at least draw the game, and take the contest into extra-time but it wasn't to be. Down now go through to an Ulster M.F.C. Final clash with near-neighbours Armagh on Sunday next in Croke Park, and it will be interesting to see what effect these two tough and competitive games they have had with Cavan will have on them. Their star forward Martin Clarke had to retire from the action in the closing minutes with an injury, and he could be doubtful for Sunday's final. Cavan on the otherhand will rue a missed opportunity in both games to book their final place. Indeed, the team as a whole played better in this replay, especially around the midfield area. However, they couldn't put that superiority on the scoreboard and paid the price. It is a sad ending to what was a promising campaign for the Cavan side. They were a side that were improving in every game, and could well have gone the whole way with a 'few breaks' in key periods in both games against Down. In the end it wasn't to be, but it is fair to say that many of these young Cavan players will don the county jersey with distinction in the years ahead. Down - Michael McAllister; John McClorey, Conor Garvey, Gary Magee; Gerard McCartan, Eamon McConville, Kevin Duffin; James Colgan (0-1), Peter Fitzpatrick (0-1); Conor Macklin, Martin Clarke (0-4), Ryan Kelly (0-3); Ciaran Brannigan (0-1), Colm Clerkin (0-1), Paul McCumiskey (0-2). Subs - Jimmy O'Reilly for Martin Clarke (53 minutes), Kevin Anderson for Paul McCumiskey (58 minutes). Cavan - Simon Delaney; Michael Meehan, Terry Smith, Niall Reilly; Finbar Jordan, Barry Watters, Paddy Brady; Killian Sheridan (1-0), Thomas McEvoy; Cian Mackey (0-1), Raymond Cullivan (0-3), Raymond Galligan (0-4); Ronan Flanagan, Ciaran Brady, Enda Gaffney. Subs - Killian Lynch (0-1) for Ciaran Brady (half-time). Referee: Martin McErlean, Derry.

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