Castlerahan collapse makes it all too easy for Cavan Gaels
Cavan Gaels 4-11 Castlerahan 0-7
It was all too easy for Cavan Gaels as they collected their 12th SFC title with the minimum of fuss at a wintry Breffni Park yesterday.
The Gaels achieved their goal in clinical fashion despite rarely hitting top gear in what was a hugely disappointing contest. The 2010 champions got off to a turbo-charged start with Kevin Meehan finding the net after just two minutes from point-blank range, after an incisive move engineered by Dominic Reilly and Martin Dunne.
A lacklustre Castlerahan -- competing in their first SFC final in 43 years -- surprisingly started captain Ronan Flanagan on the edge of the square, while fellow county star Cian Mackey operated as a roving corner-forward. The Gaels continued to play well within their comfort zone with Castlerahan's lack of a cutting edge a stand-out feature of their play.
While Cavan Gaels' potency up front was a major part of their success, Castlerahan could only notch three points from open play over the 60-plus minutes.
Before the half-hour mark Castlerahan were on the wrong end of a 0-2 to 2-3 scoreline after a slide-rule pass from Gaels' playmaker Micheal Lyng found the unmarked Martin Dunne for a brilliant goal.
Castlerahan continued to play second fiddle to the rampant Gaels as they laboured to eat into their opponents' 2-6 to 0-3 interval lead. Paul Smith and Sean Brady both pointed to hint at a Castlerahan fightback in the early moments of the second half, but it was a false dawn.
The Gaels remained fully in control, their forwards spoiled with possession as Enda King and Reilly continued to rule midfield.
Castlerahan were hard pressed to deal with the Gaels' pace up front, but it was two late goals from half-back Robert Maloney-Derham that finished the game as a contest. From there to the finish, Castlerahan's challenge collapsed and the Gaels sealed the title with ease.
SCORERS -- Cavan Gaels: M Dunne 1-4, S Johnston 1-3 (2f), R Maloney-Derham 1-1, K Meehan 1-0, M Lyng 0-2, N Smith 0-1. Castlerahan: C Mackey (1f), O O'Connell (1f) 0-2 each, S Brady 0-2f, P Smith 0-1.
Cavan Gaels -- E Elliott; D Rabbitt, C Collins, N Gurhy; D Sexton, E Reilly, R Maloney-Derham; E King, D Reilly; N Smith, S Johnston, N Murray; M Dunne, K Meehan, M Lyng. Subs: K Crotty for N Gurhy (40); P O'Donnell for N Murray (46); D Graham for E Reilly (46); S Reilly for E King (47); C Nelligan for S Johnston (56).
Castlerahan -- J Leahy; S Cooney, E Hill, A Mulvey; D Wright, R Flanagan, E O'Connell; P Brady, A Cusack; P Cusack, S Brady, P Smith; C Mackey, O O'Connell, B Coleman. Subs: S Cooney for D Wright (half-time); A Mulvey for E Hill (39); F Reilly for C McBreen (47); P Cusack for P Smith (57).
Ref -- B Sweeney (Ballymachugh).