Cavan beat Carlow and the six-day turnaround
Blues play last 21 minutes with 14 men after Darragh McVeety sent off
Carlow’s Kieran Nolan in action against Rory Dunne of Cavan during the All-Ireland SFC Round 2A qualifier at Kingspan Breffni Park. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho
Cavan 2-13 Carlow 0-12
Cavan became only the second team to reap the desired dividend from the infamous six-day-turnaround and book their place in Monday’s for round three of the football qualifiers after an unconvincing win at Kingspan Breffni Park.
The Blues aped the success of Dublin even though they played the final 21 minutes of the game without their inspirational half forward Darragh McVeety following his sending off.
The Ulstermen led from gun to tape but despite dominating large tracts of the game they never ever looked like putting the issue to bed before it had run its course.
Ultimately the age-old cliché of ‘goals winning matches’ came close to being a truism with Cavan’s success in bagging a goal either side of the interval pivotal in catapulting Carlow out of this year’s championship.
Cavan opened in turbo-charged mode and quickly went 1-1 to no score in front thanks to a flicked goal from Eugene Keating on three minutes after Cian Mackey’s shot dropped invitingly on the edge of the small square.
Cavan flattered to deceive though in their attempts at consolidating their opening foray and, instead, it was the sprightly visitors who impressed the most in the opening 20 minutes.
For all that, Carlow struggled to convert their hard-won possession into the hard currency of scores, faced as they were by the twin vagaries of a contrary wind and the infamous Cavan blanket defensive set-up.
In perfect conditions, a pair of howitzer points from full back Daniel St Ledger aided Carlow’s cause but Cavan’s executioner-in-chief Gearoid McKiernan countered with a brace and turned provider for Killian Clarke to ease the favourites into a 1-6 to 0-5 interval lead.
Carlow were far too reliant on their free takers for their own good and they weren’t helped by the black carding of their go-to man Darragh Foley in the 44th minute by which stage they were chasing a 0-7 to 1-8 deficit.
In contrast, Cavan carved out several half-chances to consolidate their first half goal and they belatedly did so in the 51st minute when McVeety and Jack Brady combined to leave Mackey with a virtual tap-in.
Carlow tried their damndest to cash in on McVeety’s dismissal on 53 minutes but they never got a sniff of a goal which might have saved their bacon.
CAVAN: R Galligan; K Brady, R Dunne, P Faulkner; F Flanagan, C Moynagh, C Brady; T Corr (0-1), L Buchanan; D McVeety (0-1), G McKiernan (0-5, one free), K Clarke; C Mackey (1-1), E Keating (1-1), S Johnston (0-3, three frees).
Subs: M Reilly for L Buchanan (22 mins); J Brady for K Brady (h/t); G Smith for M Reilly (40 mins); T Hayes (0-1) for E Keating (bc, 52 mins); N Murray for C Brady (60 mins).
CARLOW: R Molloy; BJ Molloy, D St Ledger (0-5, four frees, one ’45), K Nolan; G Kelly, J Murphy (0-1), B Kavanagh; E Ruth (0-1), S Gannon; A Kelly (0-1), D O’Brien (0-1), H Gahan; C Blake (0-1, free), D Foley (0-2, two frees), D Smithers.
Subs: D Walshe for D Smithers (42 mins); D Lunney for D Foley (bc, 45 mins); D Moran for D O’Brien (60 mins); P O’Halloran for C Blake (66 mins); B Cawley for K Nolan (69 mins); C Bailey for E Ruth (74 mins).
Referee: F Kelly (Longford).