Cavan had one of their best displays of the season but still couldn’t get the win in a close fought, momentum switching fixture.
Cork only led once in the game, and it happened when a Hugh Curran dropping ball was fumbled to the net by the Cavan defense. Somehow the Rebels still managed to get a result when David O’Callaghan fired over with minutes left for the equalizer.
Mickey Sloan’s men will be asking what happened, but they will look at the performance of Conor Harrison as brilliant as he kept putting the side in front with nine points on the day.
Cavan burst out the gate and they had a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after eight minutes. Conor Sheridan had a pair from his new surroundings at full forward, while Richie Morgan and Harrison with his first also tallied in reply to a Sean O’Neill score that resulted from an excellent five player move.
Harrison extended the lead with a 50 yard free before Jason Kelly fisted over at the Railway end to give Cork hope. After a Morgan gem from wide on the left, Cork came roaring back. O’Callaghan, Kelly, Curran and O’Callaghan, again this time from a free, had the sides level with 12 minutes left in the half.
It appeared that Cork had come to grips, but it was a false promise as Cavan again used the scoring prowess of Harrison to good effect. He had three of the closing five Cavan scores against two for Cork as the half came to a close. Two came from frees while the third was a fifty that he split the posts with to sandwich a Mike Reilly long range effort for the Breffni Blues.
Cork’s only reply was points from the advancing Paul O’Connor -- he smartly fisted over when the defense swarmed -- and a long range free from O’Callaghan. Morgan closed the half with his second of the day to leave Cavan with a 0-11 to 0-8 advantage.
Cork were level within four minutes of the restart with Brian Gallagher storming through with just 15 seconds gone to pave the way, before Conall Kelly and another O’Callaghan free made it a tie game.
Harrison and Morgan again moved Cavan ahead, but then their generosity found new levels. A long range effort for a score from Curran dropped short in the square, just feet from the goal line. As defender and keeper combined, they fluffed the ball and it finally bounced of Gavin Joyce to the net for the proverbial OG.
Jason Kelly with his trademark long range out of the hand drive, and Curran followed to move Cork into a 1-13 to 0-13 lead. With the cross wind elements it seemed as though they would push on, but Cavan had other thoughts.
Harrison had three of the next four Cavan scores, with sub Michael Ireland landing the other to put the side into the lead for the last time. Two of the man of the match points came from play, and he also hit the upright with a free with just three minutes left.
With time winding down, Cork found the energy for one last score as Germany and Argentina battled on the TV in the distant Gaelic Park casino. The ball fell to O’Callaghan, and the scoring wiz made no mistake from a very difficult location to tie the game up for the third and final time.
Cavan are in fifth place in a group where only four go forward with a full round of games now complete. Cork leads the group with eight points while Kerry sits second on seven after their 2-11 to 0-13 victory over Leitrim in the final game of the Sunday card.
Monaghan are next on six following three victories in a row while Leitrim have five points, but look like a side that will be in the final shake up.
Consistence was the Cavan problem in other games. It didn’t happen in this game and it is a result to build on. They still look as they though they need a dominant man in the middle axis but may not have a slot left for him.
Ronan McGinley, Fergal Ellis, Richie Morgan, Conor Sheridan and Conor Harrison all excelled at different times. Ellis was a constant threat going forward. Harrison was outstanding.
Cork had good outings from Paul O’Connor, Keith Scally, Brian Gallagher and the brilliant David O’Callaghan.
One note -- some of the catching in the center was as good as any day so far. Rory Stafford went to the sky for one ball on the press side. An art that is beautiful in its form.
Cavan: 1 Gavin Joyce, 2 Tommy Warburton, 3 Ronan McGinley, 4 Shane Hogan, 5 Fergal Ellis, 6 John Comerford, 7 Conor Hogan, 8 Michael Hallassy, 8 Michael O’Reilly (0-1), 10 Richie Morgan (0-4), 11 Harry Silke, 12 Liam Fleming, 13 Sean Dalton, 14 Conor Harrison (0-9), 15 Conor Sheridan (0-2). Sub: Michael Sloan, Michael Ireland (0-1).
Cork: 1 Gary Lowney, 2 Donnagh O’Sullivan, 3 Alan Raftery, 4 Darren Walsh, 5 Keith Scally, 6 Paul O’Connor (0-1), 7 Adrian Morrissey, 8 Rory Stafford, 9 Brian Gallagher (0-1), 10 Jason Kelly (0-3), 11 Hugh Curran (0-2), 12 Sean O’Neill (0-1), 13 David O’Callaghan (0-5), 14 Conall Kelly (0-1), 15 Shane McCarthy.
Referee: John Fitzpatrick
Man of the match: Conor Harrison (Cavan).