Cavan survive 'six-day' hoodoo
Cavan 2-13 Carlow 0-12
Terry Hyland admitted his Cavan team struggled with nerves initially before coming good to buck the qualifier trend. Goals from Eugene Keating and Cian Mackey earned Cavan the rare distinction of winning a qualifier game six days after exiting their provincial championship.
It was a tense, defensive game until things opened up in the second half and Cavan eventually wrapped up the win at Kingspan Breffni Park when Mackey netted their second goal after 51 minutes.
Cavan were outscored by 0-5 to 0-2 in a 30-minute spell in the first half and manager Hyland acknowledged they battled nerves after leaking 5-18 to Tyrone the previous Sunday.
He also insisted that progression to this morning’s Round 3A draw, where they’ll be the highest-ranked team, was all that mattered, particularly with the weight of history stacked against them.
“You certainly saw nerves in the first half, they did have a bit of that,” said Hyland. “It was obvious for anyone to see. Call it nerves, call it first touch, call it psychological, call it what you like. Anybody can put names on it. We didn’t play well in the first half, if you want to put it a simpler way.
“But I thought in the second half we upped the tempo a little bit for the first 15 minutes and kept pushing away at them.”
Hyland said there was shock in the Cavan camp after the 10-point Ulster semi-final replay loss to Tyrone and isn’t sure it’s entirely out of their system yet.
“Only next weekend will answer that one,” he said. “You can only take it one game at a time in the qualifiers and just see how far you get. But on the evidence of this performance, you’d probably say that we might struggle against a team playing in a higher division.”
Keating flicked in a third-minute Cavan goal after Mackey’s point attempt from the right wing dropped short, moving them four clear.
But they struggled for the remainder of the half to break down Carlow’s fortified defence and were fortunate to be 1-6 to 0-5 up at half-time.
The game opened up in the second half but Carlow picked off enough scores to remain just four behind with 20 minutes to go.
Mackey finished off a fine passing move for Cavan’s second goal to kill off the contest and Gearoid McKiernan took his tally to 0-5 with two late points.
Cavan played out the last 20 minutes or so with 14 men after Dara McVeety was shown a black card following an earlier booking and Martin Reilly picked up a worrying hand injury.
Hyland also revealed that David Givney will probably miss out on the remainder of the championship with groin trouble.
Scorers – Cavan: G McKiernan 0-5 (1f), E Keating, C Mackey 1-1 each, S Johnston 0-3fs, D McVeety, K Clarke, T Hayes 0-1 each. Carlow: D St Ledger 0-5fs, D Foley 0-2fs, C Blake (f), E Ruth, D O’Brien, J Murphy, A Kelly 0-1 each.
Cavan – R Galligan; K Brady, R Dunne, P Faulkner; F Flanagan, C Moynagh, C Brady; T Corr, L Buchanan; K Clarke, G McKiernan, D McVeety; C Mackey, E Keating, S Johnston. Subs: M Reilly for Buchanan (23), J Brady for K Brady (h-t), G Smith for Reilly (40), T Hayes for Keating (BC, 53), N Murray for C Brady (60).
Carlow – R Molloy; D St Ledger, K Nolan, BJ Molloy; G Kelly, J Murphy, B Kavanagh; E Ruth, S Gannon; A Kelly, D O’Brien, H Gahan; D Smithers, D Foley, C Blake. Subs: D Walshe for Smithers (44), D Lunney for Foley (BC, 47), D Moran for O’Brien (61), P O’Halloran for Blake (67), B Cawley for Nolan (70), C Bailey for Ruth (74).
Ref – F Kelly (Longford).