Breffni send out back-door warning with Aughrim rout
Cavan 2-16 Wicklow 1-5
After a false start in Ulster against Donegal, Cavan kick-started their summer in Aughrim as they coasted to a qualifier win.
They were 13 points clear at the break and never had a moment's worry in the second half as Wicklow got their tactics all wrong.
The home team tried to play defensively in the first half, but hadn't the physical power to do it, and then they went long ball in the second period to big full-forward James Stafford.
But Cavan were sufficiently aware to swat that tactic aside, at least until Stafford got a goal three minutes from the end to put some respectability on the scoreboard.
Martin Reilly, from a penalty, and wing-back Ciaran Brady, with a great finish, had scored the first-half goals that won the day for Cavan, who were 2-8 to 0-1 ahead at half-time, with some disillusioned Wicklow supporters already heading for the exits at that stage.
"Getting all our players back had a big impact," said Cavan star Seanie Johnston. "Martin Reilly and our captain Dara McVeety missed the Donegal match and I was only able to come on in that one.
"When we went five points up after 15 minutes, even though Wicklow had the breeze, we knew we were on the right road."
Cavan manager Mattie McGleenan added: "We got out of Aughrim with a win - that was all I wanted. There are things to work on for the next day."
Brady gave a man of the match display of strong running from wing-back, scoring 1-3.
Gearoid McKiernan kicked four points from play and added a free in a powerful performance while Johnston played as a 'quarterback' out around midfield looking for passes and bringing all his experience to the matter of prising open the Wicklow back-line.
It was a classy effort from Cavan all round. And they could do damage in the qualifiers.
Man of the match
Ciaran Brady (Cavan)
A wing-back who scored 1-3 from play, Brady drove Cavan forward , with his goal settling the issue just before the break.
Wides: Cavan 8 (3); Wicklow 16 (11)
Frees: Cavan 19 (9); Wicklow 6 (1)
Scorers- Cavan : C Brady 1-3, G McKiernan 0-5, M Reilly 1-0, C O'Reilly, S Johnston, C Mackey 0-2 each, O Kiernan, D McVeety 0-1 each Wicklow: J Stafford 1-0; M Jackson 0-3; R Finn, D Hayden 0-1 each
Cavan - J Farrelly 6; K Brady 6, P Faulkner 8, E Flanagan 8; C Brady 9, C Moynagh 6, M Reilly 8; S McCormack 7, K Clarke 8; B Magee 7, G McKiernan 8, O Kiernan 7; C O'Reilly 6, D McVeety 6, S Johnston 8. Subs: C Bradley for Kiernan (45) 6, C Mackey for Johnston (51) 8, J Wharton for Moynagh (60) 6, N Clerkin for O'Reilly (63) 6.
Wicklow - M Jackson 8; E Murtagh 6, R O'Brien 5, P Merrigan 5; J Crowe 6, D Healy 7, S Kearon 6; R Finn 7, J Stafford 8; T Smyth 6, J Snell 5, D Hayden 5; S Furlong 6, J McGrath 5, M Kenny 5. Subs: K Murphy for Crowe (34) 5, D Fitpatrick for McGrath (ht) 6, C Magee for Kearon (42) 5.
Ref - J Henry (Mayo)
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