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Lyng class gives Denn real sense of deja vu

DEJA VU anyone? Twelve months on from when the sides met in the 2008 final, the story of the 2009 final was very much the same with Cavan Gaels' superior guile and know-how seeing them past Denn's unquestionable courage and commitment.

Admittedly, this one was over much sooner than last year with the game all but decided when Michael Lyng weaved his way through the heart of the Denn defence to goal and put his side 1-9 to 0-2 ahead in the 21st minute.

And apart from a brief period around the three-quarter mark, Gaels were in complete control. That purple patch for the men in maroon yielded 1-4, including an excellently taken Colm Kiernan penalty. But even those scores only brought Denn to within six points of the town side, who had Lyng, Seanie Johnston and captain Anthony Forde dictating matters.

Denn managed to close the gap to five late on in the game thanks to John Smith's close-range goal, but, at that stage, Mick O'Dowd's side were already thinking of the October 18 Ulster club championship clash with Antrim champions St Gall's, as they had withdrawn Johnston in a bid to prevent any further damage to an injured wrist.

The Crosskeys outfit were keen to learn from last year and started with Martin Cahill picking up Johnston -- who had led them on a merry dance 12 months earlier -- from the off while their cause was aided further by the absence of county midfielder Nicholas Walsh from the Gaels starting line-up through a hamstring injury.

But Johnston was in no mood to be tamed, kicking four first-half points (three from play) and, after nine minutes, all of the full-forward line were on the score-sheet. In fact, that line would end the day contributing 12 points of the Gaels' total, with Cormac Nelligan catching the eye in a robust display.

Lyng, who would later be named the man of the match, and Johnston were on the same telepathic wavelength with the former thriving in the playmaker role.


He was tormentor-in-chief while midfielder Forde produced the most sublime piece of skill of the day during the first half when he pulled off a remarkable chip-lift while running at full tilt along the sideline before unselfishly off-loading to Martin Dunne for a simple score.

Like 12 months ago, Denn were outclassed in every area but couldn't be faulted for effort and application. Ronan Kiernan, David McKiernan and Martin Cahill tried hardest for them but any error was punished severely by Gaels who took a deserved eight-point lead in at the break (1-10 to 0-5).

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There was to be no let-up after the restart when Gaels outscored their opponents by six points to one in the opening 10 minutes to put them 13 points to the good. The underdogs then enjoyed their best period of the game, but it was to no avail as Cavan Gaels completed their second three-in-a-row of the decade to join Mullahoran on 11 titles in the Cavan roll of honour.

Gaels have long threatened to make an impact at provincial level and having beating their next opponents -- the Belfast-based St Gall's -- by three points last year, they will fancy their chances at a winning a provincial crown.

"We have St Gall's next. We beat them last year but they gave us a bit of a trimming the year before that so it's very hard to know how it will go," Johnston commented afterwards.

"They won their county final by 20-odd points so it is going to be very difficult because they will be a lot of people's favourites to win the whole thing out.

"We're lucky enough in that we have home advantage. We'll prepare diligently for the next two weeks and hopefully we'll be able to get a result."

SCORERS -- Cavan Gaels: M Lyng 1-2, S Johnston (0-2f), C Nelligan (0-2f) 0-5 each, M Dunne, E Reilly 0-2 each, G Duffy, C Collins, P Smith, K Meehan 0-1 each. Denn: D Costello 0-4 (0-4f), C Kiernan 1-1, J Smith 1-0, M McKiernan, R Kiernan, A McKiernan, M Cahill, E McPhilips, H Smith 0-1 each.

Cavan Gaels -- E Elliott; K Crotty, D Rabbitt, J Gurhy; G Duffy, E Reilly, D Graham; C Collins, A Forde; D Reilly, M Lyng, P O'Donnell; S Johnston, C Nelligan, M Dunne Subs: N Murray for O'Donnell (35), P Smith for Gurhy (47), R Maloney for Dunne (53), K Meehan for Johnston (57).

Denn -- B Boylan; E McPhilips, C McGovern, M Cahill; A Cahill, D McKiernan, A McKiernan; T Corr, R Kiernan; J Kiernan, P McGovern, M McKiernan; C Kiernan, H Smith, D Costello Subs: P Galligan for A McKiernan (35), P Donohoe for J Kiernan (41), J Smith for McGovern (44).

Ref -- J McQuillan.

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