The Cavan footballers end the 70-year Croke Park Trophy drought with Allianz NFL Division 4 Finals victory

Cavan footballers lifted their first trophy at Croke Park in 70 years as they won the Allianz Division 4 National Football League title at Croke Park this afternoon.

Goals in both halves from Man of the Match Paddy Lynch secured victory after a titanic battle with the Munster side.

After falling four points behind after Lynch’s first goal, Tipperary fought back to level the tie.

Midfielder Mark Russell scored four points from the game for Tipperary while Conor Sweeney scored 0-6 and they went two points clear in the 54th minute.


Cavan’s Killian Clarke is tackled by Tipperary’s Teddy Doyle during the Allianz Football League Division 4 Final at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

But Cavan leveled the tie before Lynch’s second goal in the 62nd minute, ultimately proving the winning point, although substitute Tipperary Stephen Quirke almost scored a dramatic winner in injury time, but his shot hit the underside of the bar.

It’s a measure of Cavan’s and Tipperary’s respective declines that just fifteen months after making the All-Ireland semi-finals, they were back at Croke Park for the Division 4 league finals.

At least their trajectory was upwards, and this was essentially a bonus game as they secured promotion to Division 3 in 2023 despite a few stumbling blocks in the spring trip.

Tipperary had picked up a surprise but fully deserved victory over Cavan when the sides met at Kingspan Breffni three weeks ago. So this was an opportunity for the Ulster side to retaliate.

Tipperary split the Cavan defense in their first attack, with Conor Sweeney, Bill Maher and Mark Russell all involved, but the latter’s shot was saved by the combined efforts of Cavan goaltender Raymond Galligan and Killian Brady, who acted as the side’s sweeper acted, smothered.

In the early slugfest there was nothing between the sides; The sides were evenly matched on three occasions as both sides found it difficult to penetrate their opponent’s mass defenses.

The game took its first decisive turn after 22 minutes. A brilliant pass from Conor Sweeney put Bill Maher on the Canal End goals but he was unable to parry his shot due to efforts from Killian Clarke, Padraig Faulkner and Galligan.

The ball spilled and Cavan swept down the field before Tipperary had a chance to get his full defense in place. Paddy Lynch broke free of his marker and was ideally positioned to receive Stephen Smith’s accurate pass and slammed the ball into the corner of the net to give Cavan a four-point lead.

Tipperary didn’t panic, however, and midfielder Mark Russell scored for a brilliant point-kick from practically the same spot below the Hogan stands.

Luke Fortune missed another scoring chance for Cavan after another great assist from Stephen Smith, but long distance from Jack Kennedy and a third point from the irrepressible Russell leveled the game for the fourth time.

With the last shot of the half, Cavan goaltender Raymond Galligan hit a 45 to leave Cavan by a point at the break (1-5; 0-7).

A point from Conor Sweeney and Mikey O’Shea put Tipperary ahead before Cavan’s Padraig Faulkner equalized for the sixth time in the 40th minute.

A fisted Conor Madden point gave Cavan an advantage before the increasingly influential Conor Sweeney scored two points within five minutes

Cavan fired three shots into the arms of Tipperary goalkeeper Michael O’Reilly before James Smith equalized for the eighth time.

But two points from Russell – who was surprisingly substituted soon after – and Kevin Fahey gave Tipp two points for the first time. But Cavan came back with points from Stephen Smith and a Paddy Lynch (free).

Cavan had looked most dangerous when they turned tipp and attacked and were quick, and the tactic produced a bounty bounty with eight minutes left when a sweeping move sent the tipp defense out of position, helping Thomas Galligan’s assist and from Paddy Lynch was shot in the net.

A free left Conor Sweeney in a two-point game down the stretch; Raymond Galligan missed a long range and a 45 for Cavan and the drama was over.

Tipperary substitute Stephen Quirke caught a Hail Mary punt and his shot bounced off the underside of the crossbar but rebounded on the wrong side of the goal line from a Tipperary perspective.

Sweeney made it a one-point play with a 74th minute clear and Tipp had another long distance clear who decided to call and eventually the clock beat them.

Goalscorers: Cavan – P Lynch 2-3 (1m, 1w), G McKiernan, C Moynagh, R Galligan (1 45), P Faulkner, C Madden J Smith, S Smith 0-1 each. Tipperary – C Sweeney 0-6 (3f), M Russell 0-4, M O’Shea 0-2, T Doyle, J Kennedy (1f), K Fahey 0-1 each.

Cavan: R Galligan; Moynagh C, Faulkner P, Finnegan E; Fortune L, Brady K, McLoughlin J; G McKiernan, K Clarke; G Smith, T Galligan, C Madden; Lynch P, Smith J, Smith S. Subtitle: C Brady for K Brady (47), C O’Reilly for Madden (49), C Madden for G Smith (60), C Conroy for E Finnegan (62), N Murray for S Smith (70+5).

Tipperary: M O’Reilly; S O’Connell, J Feehan, J Harney; K Fahey, C O’Shaughnessy, T Maher; C Kennedy, M Russell; B Maher, J Kennedy, T Doyle; M. O’Shea, C. Sweeney, S. O’Connor. Subtitle: C Deeley for O’Connor (19), W Eviston for Harney (50), S Quirke for Russell (54), B Hewitt for Deeley (65), M Kehoe for Maher (70).

Referee: John Hickey (Carlow). The Cavan footballers end the 70-year Croke Park Trophy drought with Allianz NFL Division 4 Finals victory

Fry Electronics Team

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