Conor Moynagh’s 55th minute goal proved the difference as Drumgoon downed Cornafean this evening for a place in the semi-finals of the intermediate championship.
Eamon Dunne’s side really put their grit on display at Kingspan Breffni, where they’d trailed by three at half before racing out of the traps for the second and hitting four consecutive points via Paddy Smith (2), Moynagh and veteran Jim McNally.
Cornafean relied on Barry Doyle for 0-8 of their tally and although their marquee forward inside would bring them level it was Moynagh’s intervention with five minutes to go that devastated them, as the 2011 champions made sure to keep the margin at three until the very last whistle.
It took all of 25 seconds for Drumgoon hit the front in the best possible fashion in this quarter-final, with good work from McNally at full-forward allowing Shane Smith the time and space to rattle the junior champions’ net.
A Conall Farrell free had the Goonies four in front with as many minutes on the clock and it was looking like one-way traffic until the Reds got their wake-up call.
Doyle and Andrew Wharton sailed over back-to-back points before the former registered his first free of the evening on 10 minutes and the game would be levelled thanks to a terrific run forward from Jason Miney ending with an equally brilliant finish between the posts from the corner-back.
The pendulum had definitely swung and by the 16th minute the Sean Leddy Cup holders were in the ascendancy thanks to Liam Duignan’s well-taken point.
Farrell (free) cancelled that out and matters stayed all square approaching the closing five minutes of the half after Drumgoon’s county man Conor Moynagh had erased another free from Doyle.
There was no stopping Cornafean’s talisman at times though, sending over a neat left-footed point in the 26th minute before rounding Drumgoon’s last line of defence in Corey Smith, who got his marching orders via a black card after pulling down Doyle for a penalty.
The Cornfean marksman smacked the post with the resultant spot kick and the danger was cleared but the ball stayed at that end for the majority of time remaining in the half.
Injury-time points from Niall Sheridan, who benefited off good work from Miney and Jack Wharton, left it at 0-9 to 1-3 come the short whistle.
Whatever Eamon Dunne said to his players in the dressing room worked a treat as they fired over three consecutive points within seven minutes of the restart.
Paddy Smith (2) and Moynagh finished off the moves and come the 39th minute the Goonies would hit the front thanks to McNally rising high above his man and fisting over Danny Cullivan’s crossbar.
A Doyle free stemmed the tide for the Reds but the momentum was firmly with their counterparts form Boyle Park, who got their eighth and ninth points through Smith (free) and Paddy McCabe – the latter being picked out by some brilliant vision by Moynagh.
The best was yet to come from the Cavan defender however, capitalising on a spill from Cornafean net-minder Cullivan from Eddie Gaffney’s short point effort and lashing the ball home, leaving it at 2-9 to 0-10 with five minutes left in regulation.
Cornafean’s next meaningful attack reaped a goal chance as well but Dominic Donegan, who would be carried off with injury in the added minutes, dived bravely to block Andrew Smith’s effort.
Laurence Brady’s charges would have to settle for points from Doyle (free) and Mark Johnson, ending their 17-minute drought, but they were still a goal short heading into injury-time.
Shane Smith broke through to increase Drumgoon’s lead to four and although Doyle immediately replied for the Reds, they never got the goal they required which was enough for Dunne’s men to book a slot in the last four.
Drumgoon: Corey Smith; Eddie Gaffney, Killian Moynagh, Adrian Crossan; Darren Lavery, Dominic Donegan, Barry Cooney; Michael McDonald, Conall Farrell (0-2, 2f); Mark Murray, Paddy Smith (0-3, 2f), Shane Smith (1-1); Conor Moynagh (1-2), Jim McNally (0-1), Paddy McCabe (0-1). Subs: Enda McChesney for C Smith (29mins, BC), Aogan Farrell jnr for C Farrell (47), Tommy McKitterick for M Murray (60), Eamon McCluskey for D Donegan (60, inj).
Cornafean: Danny Cullivan; Jason Miney (0-1), Dan Wharton, Shane Doyle; Mark Johnson (0-1), Ciaran Duignan, Padraig Woods; Niall Sheridan (0-1), Jack Wharton; Wayne Johnson, Andrew Smith, Cormac Geoghegan; Barry Doyle (0-8, 4f), Liam Duignan (0-1), Andrew Wharton (0-1). Subs: Aogan Smith for W Johnson (47mins), Conor Sheridan for C Duignan (49), Adrian McCaffrey for C Geoghegan (58), Emmett Goldrick for J Wharton.
Ref: Brendan Sweeney (Ballymachugh)