31/05/2004

Cavan pull out the stops to storm Down

Eamonn Coleman's gamble at Breffni Park was daring, but it worked against a Down side that looked set to send Cavan out of the Ulster Football Championship.

Coleman sent in a partially fit Dermot McCabe and Peter Reilly - and the duo helped produce a stunning three goal spree that rocked a Down team that had been seven points up with just 15 minutes to play.

Grabbing a goal apiece, McCabe set up Jason O'Reilly to see Cavan go through to meet Armagh in the semi-finals.

However, the match was one that threatened to overheat as 12 yellow cards and two reds, for Cavan's Larry Reilly and Down's Adrian Scullion who were red-carded for second offences.

Cavan offence harried the Down defenders in the early stages, but the Mourne side kept in touch and despite losing Ward to an injury, took two points in quick succession in the remaining minutes of the first-half.

But Breffni saw Down's Coulter twice find goal - down running off the field at half-time 2-6 to 0-7 ahead.

Half-time substitutions by Coleman saw Dermot McCabe and Peter Reilly brought in to the attack and in defence Cahal Collins. Though Down took another point, the flow of the game was inexorably turning in Cavan's favour.

McCabe at full forward displayed a power that saw him find the Down net. Minutes later Reilly also found goal - Cavan were one point ahead. Despite Gregory McCartan levelling the scores, it was O'Reilly with two further points from play that finally saw off the Mourne men's challenge.

Scores -

Cavan - J. O'Reilly 1-3, M. Lyng 0-5 (5f), M. McKeever 0-3 (2f), C. McCabe 1-0, P. Reilly 1-0, T. Crowe 0-1, P. McKenna 0-1.

Down - B. Coulter 2-2, A. O'Prey 0-3, G. McCartan 0-3 (3f), Hughes 0-2 (1f), D. Gordon 0-1, R. Murtagh 0-1.

(SP)

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