Cavan Gaels 5-07 Derrygonnelly Harps 2-15A goal in the sixth minute of injury time put Cavan Gaels into an Ulster club SFC final for the first time in 40 years after a crazy semi-final replay at Clones.Gutsy Fermanagh champions Derrygonnelly conceded three goals in a five-minute spell before the break and Paul O’Connor clinched his hat-trick three minutes into the second half to put Cavan six points up at 4-05 to 1-08.Derrygonnelly showed great character to come back and Conal Jones’ spectacular goal, and a monster 50m point by magnificent skipper Ryan Jones, saw them take the lead three minutes into stoppage time.

However Cavan Gaels – who haven’t lost a game in league or championship all year – somehow found a way and Barry Fortune capitalised on another defensive lapse under a high ball to tap the ball into an empty net.

It’s the first time any Cavan side has reached the decider since Bailieboro in 1995, the Gaels now having just a week to prepare for a final clash with defending champions Slaughtneil.

Last week’s drab drawn game, which finished just 0-12 apiece after extra time, didn’t feature one sniff of a goal chance, but this game had everything.

Derrygonnelly just couldn’t handle the aerial threat or physical presence of Paul O’Connor who scored three goals and had a hand in Fortune’s winning strike.

The sides were level three times in a lively opening quarter but the game went to another level following the goal explosion which saw four goals in a 14-minute spell.

Paul Ward skied a point attempt but he was first to react when the ball broke off Stephen McGullion and nipped in at the back post to drill the ball low across goal.

That put Derrygonnelly 1-03 to 0-04 ahead in the 18th minute and they remained in front until Cavan hit them with three goals in five minutes.

O’Connor won Martin Dunne’s high ball in and stepped around goalkeeper Dermot Feely to blast into an empty net after 26 minutes.

The Dunne-O’Connor axis was again to the fore for the second goal, Dunne’s attempt at a point dropped short and O’Connor beat the ‘keeper at the near post to punch the ball into the net.

Derrygonnelly were being killed on the counter-attack and Seanie Johnston’s goal came after a bad pass out of defence by Garvan McGinley. It was easily picked off and Kevin Meehan passed to Johnston, who slid the ball home to punish the error.

Derrygonnelly rallied with points from Gary McKenna and Ryan Jones to trail by 3-05 to 1-08 at half time.

The Fermanagh side were slow coming out of the changing rooms after the break but any hopes they had of closing the three-point deficit were dashed when O’Connor completed his hat-trick a few minutes into the second half, beating Feely in the air to bundle the ball in.

Feely collided with the goalpost and had to be replaced after a lengthy stoppage but Derrygonnelly didn’t give it up and hit 1-04 of the next 1-05 scored.

After two Gary McKenna frees, the game caught fire again when Conal Jones fired in a brilliant goal from 15 metres out.

Darragh Sexton briefly halted the Derrygonnelly fightback with a great point from the wing but Declan Cassidy and Paul Ward tied the scores at 4-06 to 2-12 after 53 minutes.

Derrygonnelly thought they had done enough when Ryan Jones’ booming point put them in front deep into stoppage time, but high balls into square had been their undoing all afternoon and it cost them again at the end with Fortune sending the Cavan side into the final.

Scorers for Cavan Gaels – P O’Connor (3-0), S Johnston 1-4, B Fortune 1-0, K Meehan 0-2, D Sexton 0-1

Scorers for Derrygonnelly Harps – P Ward 1-2, G McKenna 0-5 (4f), C Jones 1-0, K Cassidy 0-3, D Cassidy, R Jones 0-2 each, M Jones 0-1

CAVAN GAELS: C Flynn; L Fortune, N Murray, K Meehan; S Murray, B Fortune, D Sexton; P Graham, P Maloney-Derham; N Smith, D Meehan, A Graham; P O’Connor, S Johnston, M Dunne

Subs: V Coyle for Meehan (14), M Lyng for A Graham (50), E Fortune for P Graham (57)

DERRYGONNELLY HARPS: D Feely; Shane McGullion, D Greene, M Jones; N Gallagher, E McHugh, G McGinley; R Jones, G Jones; K Cassidy, P Ward, D Cassidy; G McKenna, Stephen McGullion, C Jones

Subs: J Kelly for Feely (35), L Jones for McGinley (46), A Gallagher for N Gallagher (54), G McGinley for Stephen McGullion (56)

REFEREE: Sean Laverty (Antrim)