Murtagh keeps Rossies show on road as limp Cavan go down without fight
ROSCOMMON 0-16 CAVAN 0-5 - ALL-IRELAND SFC QUALIFIER
A third-quarter scoring blitz by Roscommon was the only highlight of an otherwise poor game at Kingspan Breffni Park.
John Evans' side booked their place in this morning's draw for the next round of the qualifiers after a run of eight unanswered points in 11 second-half minutes.
However, the lack of intensity and downright slow play made for grim viewing.
Seven wides were hit before Diarmuid Murtagh's scuffed free after 17 minutes drew ironic cheers from both sets of supporters.
The Rossies led 0-3 to 0-2 at half-time and then cut loose with youngsters Enda Smith, Conor Daly and Murtagh, along with 'old head' Cathal Cregg doing all the scoring during their purple patch.
Cavan dropped corner-forward Martin Reilly back deep in the first half but had to come out once Roscommon took the lead.
They were exposed by the loss of so many first-choice players, with Cian Mackey and Rory Dunne the latest to be lost to injury.
Evans was delighted to have got a championship win, accepting that the good performance against Mayo in the Connacht semi-final would have counted for nothing if they had lost again.
"We've had enough of moral victories, we had one of those against Tyrone last year and it doesn't do you any good," he said.
"We were simply hurting and the only way to express that was to get back working and make ourselves better and stronger and faster and more intelligent in front of goal.
"I think the fact we were five weeks without a competitive game (since the Mayo defeat), we just lost our way a small bit. We weren't as sharp and weren't getting the ball to the areas that would hurt Cavan.
"In the second half we got good, fast scores and it started to come together. We knew if we got ahead of them, they'd have to come out and play, and the gaps opened up. You can't just keep 14 men behind the ball all the time."
For Cavan, the defeat – and more so the manner of it – represents quite a setback to their attempt to turn underage success into something substantial at senior level.
They definitely missed the penetration of Martin Dunne and Cian Mackey but to only score five points was disastrous, having played six championship matches en route to an All-Ireland quarter-final last year.
Martin Reilly got their first point of the first half in the 29th minute; their first score of the second half didn't come until Michael Argue's 53rd minute point. "To lose in that fashion has hurt a lot of lads in there," admitted manager Terry Hyland.
"They know they're better than that, but time is a great healer.
"We got promotion and will be playing Division 2 next year so it wasn't a total washout of a year, although the championship has been very disappointing."
Scorers – Roscommon: D Murtagh 0-5 (3fs), E Smith 0-4, C Cregg 0-3 (f), C Daly, D Smith 0-2 each. Cavan: M Reilly 0-2, E Keating, M Argue, P Tinnelly 0-1 each.
ROSCOMMON – D O'Malley 6; S McDermott 7, N Carty 7, N Collins 7; D Keenan 6, N Daly 7, C Cafferkey 6; C Shine 6, K Higgins 7; D O'Gara 6, E Smith 8, C Daly 8; S Kilbride 7, C Cregg 7, D Murtagh 7. Subs: R Stack 7 for Keenan (h-t), D Smith 7 for O'Gara (54), M Nally 6 for C Daly (61), I Kilbride 5 for Smith (65), M Finneran 5 for Higgins (66), C Murtagh 5 for D Murtagh (69)
CAVAN – C Gilsenan 6; J McLoughlin 5, K Brady 6, F Flanagan 6; J Hayes 5, J McEnroe 5, R Maloney-Derham 5; M Argue 6, G McKiernan 5; D O'Reilly 5, M Lyng 5, N McDermott 5; J Brady 5, E Keating 6, M Reilly 6. Subs: M McKeever 6 for Hayes (h-t), D Givney 5 for Lyng (46), P Tinnelly 5 for R Maloney-Derham (49), T Mooney 5 for McDermott (54), N Murray 5 for J Brady (57), T Corr 5 for Argue (65)
REF – B Cassidy (Derry)