Kerry’s Ross Donovan.

Cavan used a dominant first half when they outscored their opponents by 10 points to get the senior football semifinal knockout victory.

They had to withstand a furious Kerry comeback but were able to hold on thanks to a couple of brilliant saves by keeper Maurice Power. They now go on to meet Cork in the Ned Devine final.

The first half opened with Cavan on fire. They had three points on the board in the first five minutes, with Paul Lambe creating the first with a great overlap, while Liam Moore drilled over the other two, the second when Steven Harold set him up.

While Kerry did reply with a Ross Donovan free on seven minutes, Cavan had a brilliant add on to their scoring quota.

Harold was set free in to the square by Paddy McCullough. He was fouled in the box, and Moore stepped up with a soccer-style goal to the net.

Sean Reilly had a point at the other end for Kerry but in the last 10 minutes, Cavan had two more big scores. The second goal arrived when Moore again got inside the defense after good work from McCullough. He again crashed the ball to the net.

Their third goal before the break was a gift, one that Kerry would like to have back.  With Cavan piling on the pressure, Harold got free on the right side about 45 meters from goal. He fired a long speculative ball to the goalmouth where it evaded Shane Clifford, who was staring into the blaring afternoon sun. It put Cavan ahead 3-3 to 0-2 as the half ended.

It was all Kerry to open the second half. They had 1-3 in the first 10 minutes to come flying back into the contest.

Bingo Driscoll was the goal scorer when he linked with Kevin Walsh and Vinnie Gavin before he drove home off an outstretched Power.

Moore did have a point for Cavan when they worked the ball out from the back in the hands of Ronan McGinley and Paul Lambe, but it was a small respite for the winners.

Darren Moore, who arrived off the bench, fired over a brilliant point from the left wing from an outrageous angle for Kerry on 13 minutes, and the Cavan lead was now down to four, 3-4 to 1-6.
Power had to make an excellent stop from Moore, but was powerless when Reilly fired over the lathe again from an acute angle for Kerry.

It was followed by a Walsh free off the sod, and when Vinnie Gavin had a point there was just two between the sides.

An early ball into the corner was picked up by Gearoid McCarthy for Cavan, and his side was three ahead. This was critical as Kerry were awarded a penalty with five minutes left and Walsh drove the kick home after CJ Molloy was fouled.

The sides were level. Cavan had one attack left and they stormed up the field.

McCarthy was involved again as was Brendan Reilly and Kevin Smith. They worked the ball into the corner they took it back out where it was given to the driving McCullough.

He headed for goal and hit a pile driver that Clifford did well to turn over the bar. It was a slim margin with two minutes left on the clock.

Kerry set up one last attack, with Reilly working with Gavin before the midfielder was fouled on the 21. He jumped up and unleashed a pile driver that screamed low and wide when a pointed free would have pushed the game into overtime. As it was Cavan had held on for the victory.

Cavan were well served by Maurice Power in goal. He had a couple of valuable saves and his handling and kick outs were excellent.

Paul Lambe, Brendan Reilly and Alan Carolan were confident at the back, while Paddy McCullough was strong in the middle. Steven Harold, Liam Moore and Gearoid McCarthy were the most dangerous in the front line.

Shane Clifford had a good day for Kerry save the one blunder. He also had a couple of excellent stops. Dermot Lyng, Mike Fitzgerald, Kevin Walsh, and Sean Reilly were also prominent.

Cavan: 1 Maurice Power, 2 Alan Carolan, 4 Paul Lambe, 5 Brendan Reilly, 6 Ronan McGinley, 7 Ciaran Martin, 8 Paddy McCullough (0-1), 9 Liam Moore (2-3), 10 Steven Harold (1-0), 11 Kevin Smith, 12 Sean McGivney, 13 Gearoid McCarthy (0-2), 15 Joe Shannehy. Subs: Ronan Fitzsimons, Joe McKeown.

Kerry: 1 Shane Clifford, 2 Nobby Smith, 4 Darren Courtney, 5 Dermot Lyng, 6 Eoghan O’Mahoney, 7 Niall Corbett, 8 Vinnie Gavin (0-1), 9 Mike Fitzgerald, 10 Kevin Walsh (1-2), 11 Sean Reilly (0-2), 12 Ross Donovan (0-2), 13 Bingo Driscoll (1-0), 15 CJ Molloy. Subs: Darren Moore (0-1), Dermot Foley.
Man of the match: Maurice Power (Cavan).
Referee: Brendan Moran.