Hyland cries foul over Corr red as Rossies bounce back
Roscommon 3-17 Cavan 1-16 All-Ireland SFC qualifiers
"We were missing our spine but we have a lot of backbone" was John Evans' jubilant soundbite after Roscommon got their season back on track and brought Cavan's to a premature end on Saturday night.
After their Connacht crumble to Sligo, Roscommon travelled to Kingspan Breffni Park under-strength and vulnerable to a Cavan raid.
Yet despite missing key personnel, from full-back Niall Carty right up to full-forward Senan Kilbride, they played with purpose to dump Cavan out for the second year running.
The big talking point was a contentious red card for Breffni midfielder Tomas Corr at the start of the second half, with the Rossies leading 1-7 to 1-6.
Referee David Gough's decision to flash a straight red for a strike on Ultan Harney late in the first half was the correct call - but the timing of it was questioned by Terry Hyland.
"What I would find peculiar is that it wasn't dealt with at the time, so why was it suddenly dealt with after half-time?" asked the Cavan manager.
Gough's umpires may have alerted him to the incident, but there is a TV in the referee's dressing-room and it's possible the match officials viewed RTE's half-time analysis.
Hyland quipped: "I would assume that referees shouldn't have TV's in their room. No more than management, they should have to react to what they see in front of them at the time."
Cavan tried to replace Corr at the break, Gough having to call the player from the stand to dismiss him, suggesting they knew he was in trouble.
However Hyland insisted: "He had pulled a muscle in the warm-up and he'd stiffened up at half-time, that's why we took him off."
Cavan got a dream start with Martin Reilly's goal after 27 seconds, but Roscommon were up for this particular fight, with Cathal Cregg hitting the net four minutes later.
Cavan struggled to get quality ball into their forwards and constantly turned the ball over. Roscommon outscored them by 1-3 to 0-1 in a ten minute spell after the break, Enda Smith evading a number of half-hearted tackles to score a fine solo effort.
That put the visitors 2-10 to 1-7 ahead, and Smith's injury-time fisted goal sealed victory.
"The last two weeks has been about retrieving ground and silencing our critics," said Evans. "These young lads got a lot of criticism, and do you know what they are being hit for? For being ambitious.
"We could easily have wilted and thrown in the towel, but we didn't."
scorers - Roscommon: E Smith 2-1, C Cregg 1-1, D Shine (2fs), C Murtagh (1f), U Harney, D Murtagh 0-3 each, C Daly 0-2, D Smith 0-1 ('45'). Cavan: M Reilly 1-3, C Mackey (2fs), B Reilly (2fs) 0-3 each, N Murray 0-2, N McDermott (f), G McKiernan, M Argue, C Brady, M Dunne 0-1 each.
Roscommon - D O'Malley 7; S McDermott 7, N Collins 7, D Murray 6; N Daly 6, D Keenan 6, C Cafferky 6; I Kilbride 6, K Higgins 6; C Daly 7, C Cregg 8, E Smith 8; U Harney 8, D Shine 7, C Murtagh 8. Subs: D Murtagh 8 for Higgins (47), R Stack 6 for Kilbride (52), D Smith 6 for C Murtagh (57), B Murtagh 6 for D Shine (62), T Featherstone NR for Murray (67), C Connolly NR for Cregg (70).
Cavan - R Galligan 6; J McLoughlin 6, J McEnroe 6, K Brady 6; N Murray 7, F Flanagan 6, D O'Reilly 6; G McKiernan 7, T Corr 5; C Mackey 6, D McVeety 7, M Reilly 7; R Flanagan 7, M Argue 6, N McDermott 6. Subs: T Hayes 7 for McDermott (18), C Moynagh 6 for F Flanagan (h-t), B Reilly 7 for Brady (49), C Brady 6 for O'Reilly (52), M Dunne 6 for R Flanagan (59), P Smith NR for Argue (70).
Ref - D Gough (Meath).