Saturday 3 December 2016

Rossies shake off hangover to punish 14-man Cavan

Roscommon 3-17 Cavan 1-16

Francis Mooney

Published 05/07/2015 | 02:30

Roscommon’s Enda Smith in action against Cavan’s Killian Brady yesterday. Photo: Paul Mohan
Roscommon’s Enda Smith in action against Cavan’s Killian Brady yesterday. Photo: Paul Mohan

The Rossies are back on the road, having laid the ghost of Markievicz Park with a comfortable qualifier win over Cavan.

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The Ulster side crumbled under the strain of having to play the entire second half with 14 men, following midfielder Tomas Corr's straight red card.

So, another early exit from the All-Ireland series for Terry Hyland's men, who also lost heavily to Roscommon in last year's qualifiers.

Perhaps now John Evans and his men will get to demonstrate that the much talked about potential within this squad has genuine substance. Defensively, they have work to do to shore up holes that were often but not always exploited by Cavan, but their attacking talent has never been in question, and with a strong bench ready to weigh in with valuable assistance, their summer could yet be a lengthy one.

4 July 2015; Tomas Corr, Cavan, gets involved in an altercation with Ultan Harney, Roscommon, shortly before the start of the second half. Tomas Corr, Cavan was subsequently shown a red card and sent off by referee David Gough before the start of the second half. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship, Round 2A, Cavan v Roscommon. Kingspan Breffni Park, Cavan. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
4 July 2015; Tomas Corr, Cavan, gets involved in an altercation with Ultan Harney, Roscommon, shortly before the start of the second half. Tomas Corr, Cavan was subsequently shown a red card and sent off by referee David Gough before the start of the second half. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship, Round 2A, Cavan v Roscommon. Kingspan Breffni Park, Cavan. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Before either side had had time to set up well-rehearsed defensive systems, the scores were raining in at the Breffni bowl.

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Five flags were raised in the opening three and a half minutes as the game burst into spectacular action.

Home fans were celebrating after just 25 seconds when Cian Mackey's pinpoint pass sent Martin Reilly in to slide a shot beyond Darren O'Malley, but the Rossies responded with a fourth-minute goal, smashed past Raymond Galligan by Cathal Cregg.

By that time, Ciaran Murtagh and Donie Shine had already slotted over points, and now Evans's men were in front.

Cavan finally brought some order to their defence, but invited the Rossies on to them through uncontested kick-outs. And their failure to inject any pace into their counter-attacks was hindering the Breffni game-plan, with the long ball option to towering target man Michael Argue also proving unproductive.

Ultan Harney was the man with the touch and the vision to exploit holes in the Cavan defence, and he nudged his side into a 1-4 to 1-2 lead at the end of the opening quarter.

Roscommon’s Enda Smith in action against Cavan’s Killian Brady yesterday. Photo: Paul Mohan
Roscommon’s Enda Smith in action against Cavan’s Killian Brady yesterday. Photo: Paul Mohan

Mackey's free was all Cavan could manage in 17 minutes of sluggish effort, and when Murtagh and Shine both converted frees. They trailed by three.

But Gearoid McKiernan started to assert himself at midfield, firing over a point, and stirring his colleagues into action which produced scores from Mackey and Reilly. Harney's ability to win the battle for possession in front of the Cavan goal earned him a second score, sending his side in with a 1-7 to 1-6 interval lead.

Corr was shown a straight red card before the ball was thrown in for the second half, having been involved in an incident as the teams left the field for the half-time break..

And the Rossies rattled off a flurry of points, through Conor Daly (2) and Shine to go three clear within five minutes of the restart. They took a firm grip on the contest when Enda Smith broke clear to clip the ball low to the net for a second goal on 52 minutes.

Now ahead by six, the Connacht men were ideally placed to kill off their short-handed opponents, but the introduction of Barry Reilly and Ciaran Brady added a spark to the Breffni attack. Both slotted over points, while Argue and Mackey were also on target as plucky Cavan kept themselves in the hunt against all the odds.

But with space becoming increasingly available at the back, they were always in danger, and Roscommon substitute Diarmuid Murtagh gave his side fresh options inside, seizing upon half-chances to claim a couple of points and keep his side in control on the scoreboard.

Cavan were fast running out of steam, and ideas, with pure adrenalin keeping them going as Barry Reilly and Martin Dunne tried in vain to keep them alive.

But their challenge was brought to a halt in stoppage-time as Smith drifted in at the far post to claim his second goal and nail a place in tomorrow's third-round draw.

Scorers - Roscommon: E Smith 2-1, C Cregg 1-1, U Harney, D Shine (2f), C Murtagh (1f), D Murtagh 0-3 each, C Daly 0-2, C Connolly 0-1. Cavan: M Reilly 1-3, C Mackey (2f), B Reilly (2f) 0-3 each, N Murray 0-2, G McKiernan, M Argue, C Brady, N McDermott (f), M Dunne 0-1 each.

Roscommon: D O'Malley, S McDermott, N Collins, D Murray, N Daly, D Keenan, C Cafferky, I Kilbride, K Higgins, C Daly, C Cregg, E Smith, U Harney, D Shine, C Murtagh. Subs: D Murtagh for Higgins (44), R Stack for Kilbride (51), D Smith for C Murtagh (55), B Murtagh for Shine (60), T Featherstone for Murray (64), C Connolly for Cregg (66)

Cavan: R Galligan, J McLoughlin, J McEnroe, K Brady, N Murray, F Flanagan, D O'Reilly, C McKiernan, T Corr, C Mackey, D McVeety, M Reilly, R Flanagan, M Argue, N McDermott. Subs: T Hayes for McDermott (18), C Moynagh for Flanagan (h-t), B Reilly for Brady (47), C Brady for O'Reilly (50), M Dunne for Flanagan (58), P Smith for Argue (68)

Referee: D Gough (Meath).

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