GAA Football League, Division Two: Clare 1-12 2-9 Cavan

Cian Mackey supplied the pass for Dara McVeety's second-half goal
Cian Mackey's introduction just after half-time helped spur Cavan's comeback in Ennis

Cavan fought back from seven points down to draw their Division Two Football League opener in Clare.

Caoimhin O'Reilly, one of 10 Cavan debutants, hit a first-minute goal but keeper Raymond Galligan's blunder then gifted a Clare goal to Evan Courtney.

Clare's 1-7 to 1-2 half-time lead was extended to seven but Dara McVeety's goal cut the margin to only three.

Four more Cavan points edged them ahead only for Clare to lead again before Bryan Magee's free ensured the draw.

Raymond Galligan helped atone for his mistake by making a fine save before half-time
Raymond Galligan's mistake gifted Clare their first goal

Both teams left to rue keeper errors

Goalkeeping mistakes at either end played a major part in the outcome with Galligan's first-half blunder counter-balanced by Clare custodian Killian Roche gifting Cavan's second-half goal.

Cavan were leading 1-1 to 0-3 when Galligan inexplicably dropped the ball at Courtney's feet after comfortably fielding a high ball moments earlier.

Clearly rattled, Galligan was fortunate not to concede a second goal within a minute after he dropped a high ball from Pearse Lillis but the referee adjudged that the keeper had been fouled before Keelan Sexton hammered the rebound into the net.

Buoyed by their goal, Clare hit seven of the next 10 scores to look comfortably in control at 1-10 to 1-4 after 52 minutes only for Roche's errant kickout to gift Cavan a lifeline as McVeety netted after an unselfish pass from impressive substitute Cian Mackey.

Clare dominate first-half after early Cavan goal

Playing against the wind, Cavan got off to a perfect start as youngster O'Reilly blasted to the net after a fine pass from McVeety.

However, talented Clare forwards Courtney, Eoin Cleary and Sexton were quickly on target to get the Banner County on terms before Galligan's mistake resulted in Courtney's goal.

Experienced Cavan quartet Ciaran Brady, McVeety, Padraig Faulkner and Killian Clarke were battling manfully to keep the Breffni Blues in the game with several of their young team-mates clearly struggling on the inter-county stage.

Cleary's three points helped Clare lead by five at the break and he was also close to notching a goal on 20 minutes as Galligan helped to atone for his earlier blunder by making a fine save.

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Cavan manager Mattie McGleenan praises young Breffni battles after Clare draw

Mackey introduction helps spur Cavan comeback

There was little hint of a Cavan comeback as Gary Brennan and Gearoid O'Brien pointed to increase Clare's lead to seven after the restart.

However, two points from substitute Cian Mackey gave Cavan hope and while Cathal O'Connor then replied for Clare, McVeety's goal after keeper Roche's mistake meant it was game on with 18 minutes of normal time left.

Cavan looked to have the momentum as four more unanswered points left them a point up as the game went into injury-time with Ciaran Brady, substitute Thomas Galligan, McVeety and Owen Kiernan on target.

By that stage, the black carding of Clare skipper Brennan after a clash with McVeety looked to have sealed Clare's fate.

But to their credit, two points in a minute from Cleary and Sexton edged Clare ahead again before Magee's late free meant a share of the spoils.