Allianz Football League Division 1 – Cavan 1-10 Kerry 0-13

Cavan and Kerry finished level on a scoreline of 1-10 to 0-13 in Round 6 of the Allianz Football League Division 1 on Sunday March 26th at Kingspan Breffni Park.

Allianz FL D1: Johnston kicks late leveller

Allianz Football League Division One

CAVAN 1-10 KERRY 0-13

Report by Paul Fitzpatrick for

Down by two points in injury time, it looked as if Cavan were consigned to relegation, but a late salvo saw them snatch a draw here and keep their hopes alive as the campaign enters the final round next Sunday.

Starting debutant Joe Dillon, who got on the end of a Conor Moynagh delivery, landed their penultimate point and then, three minutes into stoppage time, substitute Seanie Johnston held his nerve to fire over a free from all of 40 metres and deny Kerry the win.

Despite the sunshine, a swirling wind made conditions difficult. Cavan played their best football of the first half in the opening 10 minutes, but tailed off thereafter, with seven successive wides in the lead-in to the interval proving particularly costly as they trailed by 0-6 to 0-4 at the break.

A sublime individual point from Breffni captain Killian Clarke opened the scoring and two more top-class scores from newcomers Niall Clerkin and Conor Madden gave the Blues hope. They were guilty of over-exuberant tackling, though, and after Paul Geaney had cancelled out Clarke’s opener with a free, he added two more from the hands to level matters with a quarter of an hour played.

A minute later, ref Maurice Deegan spotted a foul on Madden from 50 metres away and Gearoid McKiernan converted for Cavan – but that was to be the home side’s final score of the half. Kerry landed the final three points through Donnchadh Walsh, Geaney (free) and Jack Barry but they were still being held fairly well by a rigid Cavan back-line.

The problem for the home side was that they appeared to be out of ideas at the other end and with each of those wides, confidence was drained bit by bit. With the excellent David Moran providing steady leadership in the middle third, the Kingdom looked poised to push on in the second half and that feeling was intensified when sub Bryan Sheehan sent over a huge point with his first touch.

But Cavan manager Mattie McGleenan had thrown Dara McVeety into the inside forward line and the Crosserlough man’s pace immediately began to cause Kerry problems. He won a free which Madden converted and then after a great pass over the top from Cian Mackey, McVeety burst clear and planted a terrific shot to the net.

Sheehan replied with a free but when McVeety earned another and McKiernan converted it, Cavan – 1-6 to 0-8 in front – sensed a first victory over the Kingdom in 51 years was in the offing. Barry John Keane clipped over a good score for Kerry, but again Cavan responded through two well-struck frees from sub Niall McDermott. Geaney replied with a similar effort and with 10 minutes to go, Kerry levelled through a super Stephen O’Brien effort.

In the frantic final minutes, Kerry looked like they had done enough when Keane kicked a beauty and Sheehan curled in a tremendous free from the left wing. But Cavan dug deep and Joe Dillon punched over a crucial score before sub Johnston, with his first touch, nailed a difficult 40-metre free to secure a draw. Kerry had one final chance, but Geaney’s free from the right wing – on the wrong side for a right-footer and into a treacherous wind – went wide.

Scorers for Cavan: Dara McVeety 1-0, Conor Madden 0-2 (1f), Gearoid McKiernan 0-2 (2fs), Niall McDermott 0-2 (2fs), Killian Clarke 0-1, Niall Clerkin 0-1, Joe Dillon 0-1, Seanie Johnston 0-1 (f).

Scorers for Kerry: Paul Geaney 0-6f (6fs), Bryan Sheehan 0-2 (1f), Barry John Keane 0-2, Stephen O’Brien 0-1, Donnchadh Walsh 0-1.

CAVAN: Raymond Galligan, Killian Brady, Killian Clarke, Fergal Reilly, Niall Clerkin, Conor Moynagh, Rory Dunne, Tomás Corr, Gearoid McKiernan, Gerry Smith, Dara McVeety, Martin Reilly, Niall Murray, Conor Madden, Joe Dillon
Subs: Jason McLoughlin for K Brady (19 mins, b/c), Cian Mackey for Clerkin (40), Niall McDermott for Madden (46), Ciaran Brady for Smith (50), Stephen Murray for Dunne, Sean Johnston for Dillon (69).

KERRY: Brendan Kealy, Fionn Fitzgerald, Mark Griffin, Ronan Shanahan, Peter Crowley, Tadhg Morley, Paul Murphy, David Moran, Jack Barry, Adrian Spillane, Kevin McCarthy, Donnchadh Walsh, Jack Savage, Paul Geaney, Stephen O’Brien
Subs: Darran O’Sullivan for McCarthy (8 mins, b/c), Bryan Sheehan (0-2, 1f) for Spillane (28 mins), Barry John Keane for Savage (40), Jonathan Lyne for Crowley (61), Michael Geaney for Barry.

REFEREE: Maurice Deegan (Laois).

Team News<\strong>