Down and Cavan must do it all again on Sunday week after playing out an exciting  1-13 to 1-13 Ulster Championship draw at Casement Park.

Despite the first half dismissal of Michael Higgins, Down seemed to set for victory when they led by four points midway through the second period.

Benny Coulter's 25th minute goal helped Down to a 1-7 to 0-8 half-time lead. However, Jason Reilly's goal turned the game and Down needed John Clarke's late point to ensure a draw.

Liam Doyle opened the scoring for Down with a free from 35 metres in the opening minute but Ger Pierson replied almost immediately with a fine effort from play after a flowing move.

Cavan looked the better side early on with forwards Michael Lyng, Gerard Pierson, Sean Johnston and Reilly all looking sharp. All four got on the scoresheet in the opening 23 minutes as Cavan led 0-5 to 0-4.

Then a crucial two minutes occurred with Cavan wasting a goal chance as Pierson failed to avail of the overlapping Johnston. Their missed chance was punished two minutes later when the excellent Coulter finished gloriously to the net after he had waltzed through the Breffni defence.

Late in the first half, corner-back Higgins was sent off for his second yellow card after a stupid high challenge on Sean Johnston.

Despite the loss of Higgins, Down made the better start to the second half with Daniel Hughes hitting three quick scores from play with Lyng's free the only response. 

Hughes' brilliant second half form then continued when he swung over another majestic point to increase Down's lead to four.

Hopes of a Cavan revival weren't helped 12 minutes from time when an apparently legitimate point by Pierson was waved wide.

However, within a minute there was only a point between the teams when Jason Reilly somehow scrambled the ball over the line after Down had carelessly lost possession in their own half-back line.

With Down looking rattled, Cavan were level with 10 minutes of normal time left with the unmarked Lyng slotting from 21 metres.

Lyng then missed a difficult free-taking chance to put Cavan ahead but with six minutes left, he cut inside from the right touchline and took the right option in fisting over the bar.

However, Down broke out of their out half to win a free and Benny Coulter rose high in the square to fist a levelling point.

Gerard Pierson then appeared to have scored the winner after Michael Lyng had take a clever short free. But Down showed admirable composure to work the ball deep into Cavan territory in the dying seconds and John Clarke ensured the replay on Sunday week with the last kick of the game.

Filed by Aidan O'Doherty