SFC: Mackey rescues Castlerahan

September 10, 2016

Lacken's James Moynagh with Fergal Reilly (Castlerahan) during the Cavan SFC quarter final at Breffni Park

Castlerahan 1-10
Lacken 1-10

A late, late point from Cian Mackey secured a draw for Castlerahan in a thrilling finale to this senior champiionship quarter-final at Kingspan Breffni Park.

The Ballyjamesduff men will feel the game turned on two goal chances in the second half - at one end, Ray Galligan was awarded what looked a questionable penalty which resulted in a goal and, at the other, Fergal Reilly chose to fist over with the net at his mercy.

Castlerahan led by four points, 0-7 to 0-3, at the end of a forgettable first half.

From the throw-in, the game turned into a tactical battle, with both sides flooding men back. Lacken, when defending, seemed happy to allow their opponents to have possession of the ball until they reached the 45-metre line, at which point the Celtics put their press on and looked to turn the maroon men over.

That strategy worked, to an extent, for the first 20 minutes. Castlerahan dominated possession but Lacken forced them to shoot from long range and tight angle and were much more economical themselves on their rare forays at the other end.

Castlerahan - who kicked 10 first-half wides - were more composed early on, two well-struck Cian Mackey frees and a Cormac Daly point on the run (after a big fetch from midfielder David Wright) easing them into a three-point lead.

Lacken replied with a trademark looping effort from go-to man Niall McKiernan and a long-range Ray Galligan free and when McKiernan sent over another from play, they were level, having lived on scraps, after 17 minutes.

Castlerahan, though, began to find a few holes in the Celtics' blanket and points from Mackey (free), Fiachra Sweeney, Kerryman Shane McSweeney and a monster effort from Daly, all in the final 10 minutes of the first half, saw them going in for their tea well in control.

Lacken changed their approach in the second half, pushing up much higher. They kicked four successive wides before a moment of genius from Mackey opened their defence and Cian McEnroe coolly rounded Colin Comerford and side-footed home.

That made it 1-7 to 0-3 with 23 minutes remaining but Lacken got back to work and with Castlerahan's ultra-defensive shape inviting them on, they landed points from Ray Galligan (two frees and a briliant effort from play) and had the ball in the net only for an umpire to rule it out.

The penalty call was greeted with incredulous glances but ref Joe McQuillan clearly felt Galligan had been impeded and when McKiernan blasted home from the spot, the Celtic believed.

Declan Brady and Craig Lanauze got in on the act, wit McEnroe pointing at the other end, and in the frantic dying seconds, Conor Finnegan thought he had won it with a 40-metre effort.

But cometh the hour, cometh the man and when Mackey turned on the burners and clipped over, it was all over - the sides must meet again.

Castlerahan: Jamie Leahy, Fiachra Sweeney (0-1), David Wright, Enda O'Connell, Fergal Reilly (0-1), Ronan Flanagan, Caolan McBreen, Sean Brady, Cormac Daly (0-2), Daniel Lynch, Shane McSweeney (0-1), Oisin O'Connell, Cian McEnroe (1-1), Enda Flanagan, Cian Mackey (0-4, 3f). Subs: Jamie McGrath for McBreen, Paul Brady for Lynch

Lacken: Colin Comerford, Kevin Shanaghy, Daithi Wilson, Declan Brady (0-1), Craig Lanauze (0-1), James Galligan, Shane Finnegan, Thomas Galligan, Niall McKiernan (1-2, 1-0 pen), Shane Moynagh, Conor Finnegan (0-1), Damien McKiernan, James Moynagh, Raymond Galligan (0-4, 2f), Stephen Brady (0-1). Subs: Paul Leddy for James Moynagh, Phil Moynagh for Shane Moynagh.

Ref: Joe McQuillian (Kill Shamrocks)

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