Steven Harold fired Cavan to a late win as they over came a second half Armagh surge to pick up their second victory of the year. The Breffni men were the dominant side over the full sixty minutes of football, but still needed a goal in the final minutes to pull victory from defeat. The Northerners came out firing in the opening third as they built up an early three-point cushion. Kevin Rogers was the main catalyst as he was on target for all three scores. The first point was a nice solo effort after he soloed through a couple of would be defenders. He finished off the second and third after fine assists from Brian Murphy and Steven Sheridan. Cavan were slow off the starting line, but didn't take long to level the scores with a three point burst in four minutes. Full forward Ian Davis had their first, while Gearoid McCarthy made it braces with two short frees.
Armagh replied with a brace via Conor King who hit from both play and a free. The two strikes were both impressive as the forward delightfully curled over his efforts off the outside of his foot. The Cavan men would finish off the half in front though as they added three more points to the scoreboard before the half time horn. Ian Davis picked up his first assist of the day when Gearoid McCarthy completed a run through the middle by splitting the uprights. A Barry McGinn brace over the final three minutes pushed the Blues in front as they ended the half in better form.
Cavan continued to roll from the throw in as three straight scores left them in front 0-9 to 0-5 after ten minutes. An Ian Davis free was sandwiched in between two tough points from Brendan O'Reilly. O'Reilly was able to fight off multiples tacklers on both occasions as he maintained his composure despite the robust challenges from the Armagh rearguard. Kyle Carragher and Caolan Short pointed in close proximity of one another as Armagh crept within two. Ian Davis replied for Cavan almost immediately as his point pushed their lead back into the relative comfort of a goal.
The Orchard County made their intentions of a nervy final ten minutes clear however when they struck for a goal through Brian Murphy. The forward was in the right place at the right time as the rebound from Conor King's initial drive came straight to Murphy who couldn't miss from right on the door step. Armagh had been quiet most of the half, but now seemed to have the momentum on their side. Two more points followed from Kevin Rogers and Conor King as the Northerners seemed destined for the victory with four minutes to go.
Cavan would have the last laugh however as a goal and a point at the death would send them past Armagh. Ian Davis' point brought them within two, before Steven Harold hit the all important trifecta. Gearoid McCarthy drew defenders towards him on the left which opened up space in front of goal which Harold slid into. McCarthy fed Harold as the big midfielder deftly slid the ball under Alan Hearty to secure the late winner.
Man of the Match: Gearoid McCarthy (Cavan)Cavan: M. Power P. Lambe K. Cardin C. Martin T. Warburton T. Fahey R. McGinley P. McCullough S. Harold B. McGinn P. Smith B. O'Reilly M. Boyle I. Davis G. McCarthy Armagh: A. Hearty S. Stokes P. Martin B. Rogers C. Short E. Greenan K. McEverry J. Donnelly S. Sheridan A. McFearon K. Rogers C. King C. Conlon B. Murphy K. Carragher.
Rebels crumble in last 20 minutes
The Rebels suffered an epic collapse in the second half which saw them lose what seemed to be an insurmountable lead. Despite overwhelming Kerry most of the afternoon, the final twenty minutes saw Cork come undone as they gave up nine straight points and suffered an awkward own goal which condemned them to defeat. Cork were the superior side early on as they were flying high in the first half. Although the first score didn't come for almost ten minutes, Cork soon had their foot on the gas.
Jason Kelly opened their account with a free after midfielder Gary Lowney was cynically brought down after a nice catch and run. Kelly and Brian Kelleher play a nice give and go before Ian Rowland finished off the move with a booming left foot that just cleared the bar. The talisman Kelly started their third scoring drive after picking up the ball in the middle of the park. The midfielder then fed Rowland who sent a cross field ball to a wide open Brian Kelleher who blasted the ball over from fourteen yards. Kelly picked up his second point at the midway point to leave Cork ahead by four points.
Conor Ryan finally ended Kerry's barren spell with a point from play, but it would be their only positive highlight from the half as they were completely overwhelmed by the Rebels. For all of Cork's dominance in possession, they would only add another three scores as they fired a number of wayward efforts over the final ten minutes of play. Points from Ian Rowland and Jason Kelly saw the Reds finish the half with 0-7 to 0-1 lead.
Kerry didn't have to wait over fifteen minutes for their opening score in the second half as midfielder Mike Jim Fitzgerald fired them off the mark with a thirty yard strike. Cork responded with consecutive points. A long ball toward the Kerry square was broken down to Brian Kelleher who duly flicked it over for their first score of the half. Vinnie Lehane was on the score sheet three minutes later when he finished off a nice passing move with an accurate strike from distance. Kelleher's second point of the half arrived in the tenth minute as it pushed Cork ahead by eight points at 0-10 to 0-2. There was no certainly no indication that Cork were about to lose control of a match they thoroughly dominated up to this point.
When stalwart midfielder Gary Lowney came off with an injury a minute later, it would've been impossible to imagine the devastation that Kerry would lay upon Cork's confidence. The final twenty minutes of play was all one-way traffic as the Kingdom laid siege to the Cork side of the field. Kerry would rattle off nine consecutive points as they only registered one wide in the entire half. Darren Moore and Paul Geaney pointed, before Barry John Walshe and Alan O'Donoghue hit for quick strikes.
Kerry also began to utilize the large target of CJ Molloy up front as he was proving to be nearly unmarkable. Three scores arrived by thumping the ball long into Molloy as he fed Darren Moore and Barry John Walshe for points, while adding a score of his own. When Mike Jim Fitzgerald pointed with seven minutes to go, Kerry had their first lead of the day. It lasted all of a minute however as Cork were finally able to reply as Cronin pointed to level the sides. Points were traded again three minutes later when Ambrose Donovan's score was reciprocated by Jason Kelly.
Cork's second half collapse was completed two minutes from time in a cruel twist as they sealed their own fate. A Barry John Walshe fifty lead to confusion on the goal line as two Cork men went for the ball and neither came up with it as the ball was deflected into the net. The Kingdom's improbably comeback was complete, while Cork must reflect on where the day went very wrong.
Man of the Match: Jason Kelly (Cork)Cork: D. O'Mahoney J. McLoughlin L. Hanley P. Harrington D. Courtney C. Lynch J. Fitzpatrick G. Lowney J. Kelly M. Cronin B. Kelleher F. Cleary V. Lehane J. O'Sullivan E. Rowland Kerry: S. Clifford N. Corbett K. Quirke D. Lyng R. Donovan E. O'Mahoney J. Lynn MJ Fitzgerald BJ Walshe C. Ryan CJ Molloy A. O'Donoghue B. O'Driscoll A. Donovan P. Geaney