Derry staged yet another late comeback to seal a win in the All-Ireland qualifier series.
Meath fell to a late scoring surge in the last round while this time around Cavan failed to hold off a resurgent Oak Leaf side as Derry won 1-17 to 0-18 to go through the the ‘last 12’. Coming up to half-time in Breffni Park last Saturday afternoon Derry were in trouble, they were four points adrift 0-11 to 1-4 and not playing at all well, victory seemed a little way off at that stage. It all changed either side of half-time. They were thrown a lifeline just before the break when when Cavan had wing back Fergal Flanagan controversially sent off following an off-the-ball incident with Mark Lynch. Indeed it was Lynck who was instrumental in dragging Derry over the line in a storming finish, he scored seven points, three from play over the 70+ minutes. Cavan bossed most of the first half and really should have been more ahead than the four points, 0-11 to 1-4, as they kicked seven wides and had the greater possession, much of it coming from their dominant midfield who cleaned up on Derry’s kick-outs. Gearoid McKiernan wore number 11 but started at midfield and scored four first-half points while Jack Brady was the only forward who didn’t get on the score sheet in that opening period. A 10th minute Derry goal from full-forward Emmett McGuckin proved crucial in that first half as it effectively kept them in the game, McGuckin rising highest to punch Ciaran McFaul’s delivery to the Cavan net. James Kielt hit Derry’s opening point but was black carded in the 23rd minute for a tangle with Conor Moynagh.
Derry made a good start to the second haf with points from Mark Lynch and Conor McAtamneyand as the half wore on the margin stayed at three. However Cavan really did let Derry off the hook as they still led by three approaching the hour mark but missed a great chance to go four clear when Seanie Johnston kicked a close range free wide.Derry capitalised on that miss and drew level just seven minutes from the end of normal time. Second half substitute Niall Toner almost had a goal but Cavan goalkeeper tipped his fizzing shot over the bar then Liam McGoldrick, another substitute, seen his cross shot blocked out for a ‘45’ which Niall Loughlin pointed to level matters. With just five to go Mark Lynch had Derry ahead from a free following a foul on McGuckin but Darren McVeety levelled again in a hectic finish. Derry talisman Mark Lynch then fired over the lead point with Niall Toner, who finished with three points in his second half cameo role