Allianz HL Division 3B
Cavan 0-21, Leitrim 2-11
Cavan cemented their place in the final of the NHL Division 3B with arguably their best display of the season.
The Ulstermen led from gun to tape at Kingspan Breffni against a Leitrim team forced to play the final 24 minutes with just 14 men.
Top scorer Canice Maher and target man Diarmaid Carney got the hosts up and running with a point apiece inside the opening two minutes and the blues never looked back.
Leitrim looked in danger of being cut adrift, but Seán Markem and Brendan Delaney combined to put Stephen Goldrick through for a goal (22 minutes) from point-blank range.
Cavan finished the first half in gung-ho fashion and Diarmaid Carney collected Thomas Leonard’s sideline cut, turned his man and fired over the black spot to make it 0-15 to 1-5 at the interval.
Though wind-backed in the second half, Leitrim laboured to eat into Cavan’s cushioned lead, and when sweeper Conor Beirne received his second yellow card (49), the visitors looked dead and buried.
To their credit, Leitrim fought the good fight to the end, but their failure to convert a penalty plus a series of scoreable frees cost them dearly.
Cavan seemed to tire in the run-in and came under consistent pressure in the dregs of the game, but Maher’s accuracy from frees helped ensure Peter Poniard’s goal (75) for the Connachtmen was of no importance.
Scorers – Cavan: C Maher (7f, ’65) 0-10; D Carney, N Kenny 0-3 each; L Óg Cooke, R Delaney, A Sheridan, S Keating, Cillian Sheanon 0-1 each. Leitrim: M Dervan (5f) 0-5; S Goldrick, P Poinard 1-0 each; B Delaney, G O’Hagan (1f) 0-2 each; J Fitzgibbon, D McGovern 0-1 each.
Cavan – D Sheridan 6; M Hynes 7, D Crudden 7, S Briody 6; J Barry 7, C Gargan 6, P McCabe 6; N Kenny 7, L Óg Cooke 7; R Delaney 6, C Maher 8, C Sheanon 6; D Carney 7, S Keating 6, T Leonard 6. Subs: F Hughes 5 for T Leonard (55); A Sheridan 6 for C Gargan (59); J Smith 5 for D Carney (63); C Bannon for S Keating (69); G Fitzpatrick for L Óg Cooke (69).
Leitrim – C Cunniffe 6; P Lenehan 7, T Brannigan 6, K Clerkin 5; D McGovern 7, J Fitzgibbon 7, M Feeney 6; C Hackett 6, G O’Hagan 7; S O Riordain 6, M Dervan 6, S Markem 6; S Goldrick 7, C Beirne 5, B Delaney 7. Subs: C Mallon 6 for K Clerkin (h-t); E Moreton 6 for S O Riordain (50); M O’Brien 5 for S Markem (59); B Goldrick 5 for C Hackett (66); P Poniard 6 for M Dervan (67).
Referee – P Owens (Down)