Armagh are through to the final of the Ulster Minor Football Championship — but they were pushed all the way by a gutsy Cavan in Clones yesterday.
The game started off in lively fashion with Armagh taking an early lead through Paul McGeown from a free but once Cavan settled they began to get on top and the pressure yielded a couple of frees that saw Jack Brady help them to a 0-4 to 0-2 lead after eleven minutes.
Armagh, on the other hand, lacked their usual efficiency in hitting the target and seven first half wides tells its own story.
Micheal McKenna reduced the deficit for Armagh, but by the 21st minute Cavan had opened a three-point lead with a brace from Brady, one from a free.
Play became a little scrappy and two Armagh players, Aidan Forker and Dean Nugent picked up yellow cards, but by the half-way stage they had wiped out the deficit with points from Paul McGeown (free) and two from Barry Seeley, one from a free to leave them level at 0-6 each.
Cavan took an early two-point second half lead, only to be pegged back by Armagh after 11 minutes.
Cavan’s hopes took a setback when they were reduced to 14 players after a second yellow card for Andrew Dewart ten minutes into the second half.
Armagh took the lead for the second time with a point from a free by Barry Seeley but again Cavan fought back to level.
The score that eventually settled the contest came with 10 minutes of normal time remaining when Conor Gough got a fist to a centre from a free by Seeley and, while Cavan got the deficit down to one, they just could not engineer the extra score and it was Armagh who sealed it with a Seeley point two minutes into stoppage time.
Armagh: M McNeice, R McCaughey, C Hoey, R Finnegan, D Nugent, J King, N McConville, P Carragher, C Gough 1-0, M McKenna 0-2, A Forker, B Seeley 0-5 (4f), C Stevenson, P McGeown 0-3 (2f), R Rafferty. Subs: R Conlon for P McGeown, D McPartland for A Forker,
Cavan: C Gilsenan, A Moran, J McLoughlin, S Clarke, P McEvoy, A Smith, C Moynagh, P Graham, T Mooney 0-1, A Dewart, F Flanagan 0-1, E Fitzsimons 0-1, P O’Connor 0-1, J Brady 0-5 (4f), C Conroy. Subs: J Madden for S Clarke, N O’Donnell 0-2 (2f) for E Fitzsimons, P Smith for P O’Connor, S Harten for C Moynagh.
Referee: M McErlean (Derry)