Diarmuid Murtagh hits 1-6 as Roscommon advance at Cavan’s expense

Brian Stack and Enda Smith scored the other all-important goals at Pearse Park to secure third spot in Group Two

Roscommon's Daire Gregg scores a point during the All-Ireland SFC Round 3 game against Cavan at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park in Longford. Photograph: John McVitty/Inpho
All-Ireland Group 2, Round 3: Roscommon 3-20 Cavan 1-20

Diarmuid Murtagh hit 1-6 as Roscommon overcame Cavan in a Pearse Park shoot-out to secure third spot in Group Two.

Murtagh, Brian Stack and Enda Smith grabbed the match-defining goals for Davy Burke’s side as they booked their place in next weekend’s All-Ireland SFC preliminary quarter-finals at a gutsy Cavan’s expense in a hugely entertaining game in front of 3,962 spectators.

It was Roscommon’s first championship victory in over a year, but they were made to work hard for their success by a freescoring Cavan side that looked dangerous in attack, despite the absence of their star forward Paddy Lynch.

The sides were level at 0-4 apiece after 13 minutes. Murtagh (two), Conor Cox (free) and Enda Smith were on target for Roscommon, while Cormac O’Reilly, Gerard Smith, Oisín Kiernan and James Smith split the posts for Cavan.


Rapid-fire scores from Murtagh, Shane Cunnane and Daire Cregg pushed Roscommon back in front before Ryan O’Neill pared back the margin to just two points.

The crucial score of the half arrived in the 21st minute when Murtagh’s effort for a point crept in under the head of Cavan goalkeeper Gary O’Rourke and into the net.

The sides continued to trade scores, with Ultan Harney, Cregg, Murtagh, with an audacious free with the outside of his left foot, and Donie Smith finding the target for the Rossies.

But Cavan remained in touch with points from O’Rourke, a ‘45 after Roscommon goalkeeper Conor Carroll denied Jason McLoughlin, Cian Madden, Oisín Brady (free) and a brace by the excellent Smith to trail by 1-11 to 0-10 at the break.

Roscommon missed a few chances at the start of the second half to leave Cavan in the game. But Enda Smith took responsibility to puncture a huge hole through the opposition’s defence and square possession for Brian Stack to palm into the net to give the Rossies a 2-11 to 0-12 lead after 40 minutes.

Both sides continues to kick points for fun, but Cavan were right back in it when substitute Dara McVeety fastened himself on to Luke Fortune’s crossfield pass to direct the ball beyond Carroll.

There was only one point in it, 2-15 to 1-17, at the three-quarter stage, but Enda Smith’s goal soon afterwards finally snapped Cavan’s resistance.

Ciarán Lennon and Andrew Glennon kicked points for Roscommon after being introduced, while player of the match Murtagh brought his tally to 1-6 for the evening as the Rossies cemented their place in next weekend’s preliminary quarter-finals.

ROSCOMMON: C Carroll; N Higgins, R Fallon, R Dolan; D Murray, B Stack (1-0), E McCormack; D Ruane, S Cunnane (0-1); D Cregg (0-4, 0-1m), D Murtagh (1-6, 0-2f), E Smith (1-1); C Cox (0-4, 0-1f, 0-1m), U Harney (0-1), D Smith (0-1).

Subs: R Daly for Ruane (40 mins); C Lennon (0-1) for Harney (45); A Glennon (0-1) for D Smith (53); N Daly for Dolan (62); A McDermott for D Murtagh (65).

CAVAN: G O’Rourke (0-1, 45); L Fortune, B O’Connell, J McLoughlin; P Faulkner, N Carolan, O Kiernan (0-1); C Brady, R Donohoe; R O’Neill (0-1), C Madden (0-1), G Smith (0-5); O Brady (0-3. 0-3f), J Smith (0-1), C O’Reilly (0-4).

Subs: T Madden for Donohoe (23), D Lovett (0-2, 0-1 mark) for O’Neill (half-time), D McVeety (1-0) for Kiernan (49), Conor Madden (0-1) for Cian Madden (53), O Kiernan for Faulkner (55).

Referee: D Gough (Meath).