Declan Bogue reports at Clones
ARMAGH AND CAVAN played like there was a safety net here in the old venue and it made for a truly thrilling spectacle.
Heaven knows what it looked like on the TV monitors of the taste makers, but when you are in the middle of the swirling mass of incidents, boos and cheers, this is the reason you watch sport.
If it were a boxing match, you suspect Cavan might have won on points. But there was a stage here where Armagh were three points up and Cavan had Ciaran Brady sent off for swinging an arm back at Armagh defender Mark Shields.
And yet, as it had so many times this season — against Kildare and Clare in the league where they blew leads to draw games, and against Down a fortnight ago in the Championship when it seemed they might cruise home going into the final stretch five points up — it happened all over again.
Cian Mackey’s introduction offered Cavan a lifeline. Along with fellow sub Stephen Murray they kicked a brace of points each in the second half to force this to extra-time.
The extra-time was a pure pig of a contest. Neither side were willing to make a mistake but Armagh grabbed the initiative with a Stefan Campbell fisted point.
Then they made the cardinal sin of trying to defend a one-point lead. They sat back and tried to run down the clock. Cavan forced the turnover and Mackey struck again for his third point and the equaliser.
All back again next Sunday.
Scorers for Armagh: J Óg Burns 1-2, R O’Neill 0-4, 3f, A Nugent 0-2, P Hughes, A Forker, J Hall, S Campbell, J McElroy 0-1 each, J Clarke 0-1f
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Scorers for Cavan: N Murray 0-5, 4f, C Mackey 0-3, S Murray, D McVeety 0-2 each, G McKiernan 0-2f, C Conroy, C Moynagh, G Smith 0-1 each.
Armagh: B Hughes; R Kennedy, B Donaghy, P Hughes; M Shields, J Morgan, A Forker; N Grimley, J Óg Burns; J Hall, R Grugan, A Nugent; S Campbell, R O’Neill, J Clarke
Subs: J McElroy for Morgan (23), E Rafferty for Campbell (58), A Murnin for Grugan (65), N Rowland for Forker (70), B Crealey for Nugent (73)
Extra-Time: J Morgan back on to make 15. C Vernon for Burns (2), Campbell for Rafferty (10)
Cavan: R Galligan; J McLoughlin, P Faulkner, C Moynagh; G Smith, K Clarke, C Rehill; C Brady, G McKiernan; M Reilly, D McVeety, N Murray; O Kiernan, T Galligan, C Madden
Subs: Ciaran Brady for Faulkner (28 – Black card), C Conroy for Smith (30), C Mackey for Madden (46), S Murray for Conor Brady (53), O Pierson for T Galligan (73)
Extra-Time: Paul Graham on to make 15. J Brady for N Murray (10), B Fortune for Moynagh (14 – Black card), C Madden for Kiernan (17)
Referee: Derek O’Mahoney (Tipperary)
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