Conor Sweeney scored a crucial penalty
By Francis Mooney at Breffni Park
RTÉ Sport reporter
Tipperary came from six points down to score a 2-15 to 0-18 win over Cavan in a Round 2B qualifier clash at Kingspan Breffni.
Two points each from Gearod McKiernan, Martin Reilly, Tomas Corr and Caoimhin O’Reilly helped Cavan to a 0-12 to 0-06 interval lead, with Conor Sweeney hitting four Tipp scores.
But the visitors switched to all-out attack, with Sweeney netting from a penalty and Robbie Kiely smashing home a goal as they made their attacking flair count when it mattered most.
Sweeney and Jack Kennedy shot early points as the Munster men pressed strongly with the wind in their backs.
Conor Moynagh made a couple of vital intercepts, the second of which sent Geariod McKiernan in for Cavan’s opening score in the seventh minute.
The Breffni men pushed up on Ciaran Kentrick’s kick-outs, and profited through Caoimhin O’Reilly’s leveller.
The Ulster side went in front for the first time in the 14th minute when Martin Reilly landed a long range effort.
Full-forward Sweeney led the line with little support, but managed to recycle the ball to Robbie Kiely for a fine score as the Munster men closed the gap
Moynagh was a constant threat going forward, linking well with O’Reilly to ease Mattie McGleenan’s men three ahead, with Tomas Corr hitting a couple of scores as they pulled clear towards half-time.
Four scores in as many minutes had them five in front, but Tipp crafted a goal chance when Brian Fox got in to collect Jimmy Feehan’s pass, but smashed his shot against a post.
Liam Kearns’s side went ten minutes without a score, before Sweeney knocked over another free, but their offensive strategy lacked variety, incisiveness and penetration.
Cavan were able to stretch their opponents with a more expansive approach, with O’Reilly sending them in with a double scores lead at the break, 0-12 to 0-06.
Tipp pushed Kennedy and Kevin O’Halloran into the inside line, and both were on target, along with Sweeney, as they narrowed the gap to three inside five minutes of the restart.
Cian Mackey’s energy helped the hosts break free following ten minutes of intense pressure, winning the free that McDermott knocked over.
Tipperary’s growing attacking threat was further strengthened by the introduction of All-Star Michael Quinlivan on 47 minutes, while Philip Austin’s power was another positive addition.
O’Halloran’s 50-metre free cut the deficit to two point s the game slipped into its final quarter, and the Premier men were a team transformed.
They showed no fear as the committed men forward without inhibition, and Austin made a vital intervention, bringing them level before winning the penalty that Sweeney sweetly stroked home in the 56th minute.
Austin and Sweeney were involved again in the move that ended with Kiely smashing home their second goal in the 62nd minute, and Quinlivan’s point had them six clear.
Cavan did pull back points through Seanie Johnston, Thomas Galligan and Padraig Faulkner, but their season was beyond rescue, and Tipp marched on.
Cavan: R Galligan; P Faulkner (0-01), K Clarke, J McLoughlin; J McEnroe, N Murray, C Moynagh (0-01); G McKiernan (0-03, 1f), T Corr (0-02); C Mackey (0-01), M Reilly (0-02), C Brady; C O’Reilly (0-02), L Buchanan, D McVeety (0-01).
Subs: N McDermott (0-02, 2f) for Brady (12), R Connolly for Buchanana (h-t), T Galligan (0-01) for Corr (47), J Dillon for McDermott (56), S Johnston (0-02, 1f) for O’Reilly (59), N Clerkin for McVeety (BC 60)
Tipperary: C Kenrick; C O’Shaughnessy, A Campbell, E Moloney; B Maher, R Kiely (1-01), J Feehan; L Casey, G Hannigan; J Keane, K O’Halloran (0-02, 1f), B Fox (0-01); J Kennedy (0-03, 2f), C Sweeney (1-05, 1-0 pen, 5f), L Boland.
Subs: D Foley (0-01) for Boland (0-02), P Austin (0-01) for O’Shaughnessy (h-t), M Quinlivan (0-01) for Hannigan (47), L McGrath for O’Halloran (67), K Bergin for Maher (73)
Referee: F Kelly (Longford)