Hyland hails Cavan 'character'
Cavan 1-12 Sligo 0-10
Cavan manager Terry Hyland praised his side's "honesty and character" as they came from behind to beat promotion rivals Sligo at Kingspan/Breffni Park.
The hosts trailed 0-9 to 0-5 after 43 minutes but then sliced open the Sligo defence in the 61st minute for Niall McDermott to score the all-important goal.
"All the squad's honesty and character was shown up in the final 20 minutes," Hyland enthused.
"It was a very satisfying win and you have to hand it to the lads for finishing the game so well."
Midfield maestro Gearoid McKiernan stole the show for Cavan with four textbook points from play, which was just as well as the Cavan attack had an off-day.
The sides enjoyed equal measures of possession, and both ought to have plundered a goal in the first half.
Firstly, Sligo cut the Cavan defence in shreds in the 11th minute but corner-forward David Kelly saw his shot from point-blank range blocked by 'keeper Gilsenan.
Cavan spurned their chance when Cian Mackey's effort from the edge of the small square in the 24th minute was beaten clear by Sligo netminder Aidan Devaney.
McKiernan opened the scoring within two minutes of the restart but his individual brilliance was briefly trumped by the visitors' collective endeavour.
Sligo regained the initiative after McKiernan's stand-out effort and four unanswered points between the 38th and 43rd minutes propelled them into a 0-9 to 0-5 lead.
The Yeats County seemed to tire after that, though, and aside from a free (66) by Adrian Marren failed to score thereafter.
At the other end of the field, Cavan found their second wind with their foraging, ball retention and fist-passing of the highest order.
The Blues improved significantly in front of goal in the final 20 minutes in particular, with Mackey and Martin Dunne slotting over magnificent points in the 55th and 57th minutes respectively to make it 0-9 apiece.
And when McDermott palmed the ball home after Dunne and Mackey had chiselled out the opening, Cavan never looked back.
SCORERS – Cavan: N McDermott 1-3 (2fs), G McKiernan 0-4, M Dunne 0-3 (1f), C Mackey, M Reilly 0-1 each. Sligo: M Breheny (3f), A Marren (2f) 0-4 each, D Kelly 0-2.
Cavan – C Gilsenan 7; J Hayes 6, K Brady 6, J McLoughlin 5; F Flanagan 7, J McEnroe 6, M McKeever 7; G McKiernan 8, D O'Reilly 7; C Mackey 7, N McDermott 7, M Reilly 6 ; K Tierney 6, M Dunne 7, R Flanagan 7. Subs: R Dunne 6 for J McLoughlin (24), T Mooney 6 for K Tierney (45), P Tinnelly 5 for M McKeever (52), T Corr for K Brady (70), P Leddy for M Dunne (71).
Sligo – A Devaney 7; R Donovan 5, G Ryan 7, N Ewing 7; D Rooney 6, B Curran 7, Johnny Kelly 6; J Kilcullen 8, P Hughes 7; E McHugh 6, M Breheny 7, K McDonnell 6; D Kelly 8 (0-2), J Hynes 7, A Marren 7. Subs: M Quinn 6 for Ross Donovan (30, BC), C Griffin 6 for E McHugh (52), S Coen 5 for J Hynes (57), John Kelly 5 for Johnny Kelly (59), N Murphy for John Kelly (65, BC).
Ref – F Barry (Kildare)