Ulster club SFC: Fortune favours Gaels in dramatic replay

November 19, 2017

Cavan Gaels' Barry Fortune.

Cavan Gaels (Cavan) 5-7

Derrygonnelly Harps (Fermanagh) 2-15

A last-gasp Barry Fortune goal saw Cavan Gaels qualify for their first Ulster club SFC final in 40 years at the expense of Derrygonnelly in an incident-packed semi-final replay at Clones.

The centre back finished the ball to an empty net in the sixth minute of injury-time after the Harps defence had failed to deal with a high ball as the Terry Coyle Park outfit pulled off a dramatic victory to set up a provincial final meeting with holders Slaughtneil next Sunday. Paul O'Connor was another of the winners' heroes, scoring a hat-trick in the first 35 minutes as they became the first Cavan club since Bailieborough in 1995 to reach an Ulster senior decider.

After the sides had been level on three occasions in the opening quarter, Paul Ward started the goal rush with an 18th minute strike to propel the Fermanagh champions into a 1-3 to 0-4 lead. But they were rocked back on their heels when the Gaels swooped for three goals in the space of five devastating minutes.

The towering O'Connor got the first in the 26th minute before he punched home his second moments later. Seanie Johnston then scored a third before the shell-shocked Harps replied with points from Gary McKenna and Ryan Jones to trail by 1-8 to 3-5 at the end of a breathtaking first half.

O'Connor completed his hat-trick five minutes after the restart, but Derrygonnelly weren't giving up. A wonderful Conal Jones goal, along with points from Gary McKenna, Declan Cassidy and Paul Ward, had the sides level at 4-6 to 2-12 with seven minutes remaining.

The Harps looked to have won it when their captain Ryan Jones put them ahead with a point from 50 metres in the third minute of injury-time, only for Fortune to break their hearts at the death.

Cavan Gaels - C Flynn; L Fortune, N Murray, K Meehan (0-2); S Murray, B Fortune (1-0), D Sexton (0-1); P Graham, P Moloney Derham; N Smith, D Meehan, A Graham; P O'Connor (3-0), S Johnston (1-4), M Dunne. Subs: V Coyle for D Meehan, M Lyng for A Graham, E Fortune for P Graham.

Derrygonnelly Harps - D Feely; Shane McGullion, D Greene, M Jones (0-1); N Gallagher, E McHugh, G McGinley; R Jones (0-2), G Jones; K Cassidy (0-3), P Ward (1-2), D Cassidy (0-2); G McKenna (0-5, 4f), Stephen McGullion, C Jones (1-0). Subs: J Kelly for D Feely, L Jones for G McGinley, A Gallagher for N Gallagher, G McGinley for Stephen McGullion.

Referee - S Laverty.



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