Compton goal helps Roscommon to victory as Cavan are relegated
Roscommon 1-13 Cavan 1-10
Roscommon recovered from last week's mauling at the hands of Dublin to deservedly get the better of Cavan at Dr Hyde Park and end their league drought.
The visitors had everything to play for, despite needing results to go their way elsewhere, but they were strangely subdued.
When Dara McVeety struck for a goal two minutes into the second-half to propel his side three points clear, it should have been the catalyst for Cavan to build momentum.
Instead they lost their way completely, as Roscommon replied instantly through Cathal Compton before sealing the deal with a mature performance that pleased manager Kevin McStay.
"We were relegated and that might have been the story for someone observing from the outside, but the match was hugely important to us. We saw it as a way of trying to turn the corner after the last couple of months," he said.
"We put in a really good effort. I think we were deserving winners. It is very important to us to stop the rot. We did it the right way by fighting awfully hard for each other. We're still doing a couple of daft things, but I thought we gave a really good account of ourselves overall."
Martin Reilly and goalkeeper Raymond Galligan got Cavan up and running, but Roscommon settled through scores from Cian Connolly and Ciaráin Murtagh.
Cavan had moved 0-7 to 0-5 clear after 26 minutes, helped by efforts from McVeety and Niall McDermott.
However, Roscommon remained in touch, helped by Man of the Match Niall Kilroy, who kicked a couple of sublime scores. Conor Devaney also drove the Rossies forward and by the time half-time rolled around, the sides were level at 0-8 each.
McVeety fielded substitute Cian Mackey's delivery to goal after 37 minutes, but barely 30 seconds later Compton sneaked in behind the Cavan defence to latch on to Devaney's probing pass and raise a green flag.
Roscommon were content to keep possession, inviting Cavan, who needed to win to have any chance of survival, out of their shell. When openings did arrive, Kilroy, sub Thomas Corcoran and Devaney grabbed the scores, alongside frees from the Murtagh brothers, Ciaráin and Diarmuid.
Gearoid McKiernan landed two frees for Cavan, but it represented a poor return for a team that had the wind.
"After we scored the goal we had a chance to gain control of the match, but then we conceded immediately afterwards. The five minutes after you score a goal is always the most dangerous time. Roscommon's goal changed the momentum of the match," said Cavan boss Mattie McGleenan.
SCORERS - Roscommon: N Kilroy 0-3, C Compton 1-0, C Murtagh (2f), D Murtagh (2f), C Devaney 0-2 each, C Connolly, S McDermott, D Smith, T Corcoran 0-1 each.
Cavan: D McVeety 1-1, N McDermott 0-3 (2f), G McKiernan 0-2 (2f), M Reilly, R Galligan (1f), J Dillon, C Brady 0-1 each.
ROSCOMMON - C Lavin 6; D Murray 6, N McInerney 6, G Patterson 5; S McDermott 6, U Harney 6, C Devaney 8; T O'Rourke 6, E Smith 7; D Smith 6, N Kilroy 9, C Murtagh 7; D Murtagh 6, C Connolly 7, C Compton 7. Subs: S Killoran 6 for Patterson (ht), B Stack 5 for D Smith (48), R Stack 5 for McDermott (61), T Corcoran 5 for Connolly (61), D Smith for D Murtagh (62), S McDermott for C Murtagh (70).
CAVAN - R Galligan 6; K Brady 6, R Dunne 6, F Reilly 6; M Reilly 6, C Moynagh 6, C Brady 7; G McKiernan 7, K Clarke 6; G Smith 5, T Corr 6, D McVeety 7; N Murray 6, J Dillon 6, N McDermott 6. Subs: C Mackey 6 for Smith (ht), N Clerkin 5 for Dillon (45), L Buchanan 5 for Corr (48), J Brady 5 for McDermott (55), J McEnroe 5 for C Brady (55), C Madden 4 for Murray (62).
REF - C Branagan (Down).