Cavan find their feet against Roscommon
Mickey Graham’s side win pulling up despite kicking a host of wides at Breffni Park
Cavan’s Martin Reilly gets a score despite the attentions Darren O’Mailey and Conor Hussey of Roscommon. Photograph: Freddie Parkinson/Inpho
Cavan 3-13 Roscommon 0-13
When Roscommon comb through the wreckage of this defeat, they will face one uncomfortable truth - Cavan should have won by much more.
The home side were utterly dominant throughout, yet in kicking 17 wides they allowed Roscommon to stay in the game for much longer than the balance of play would suggest they should have.
Cavan hadn’t registered a goal - they had barely even come close - in their three earlier league matches but they had shown glimpses of quality. And it all came together here in a result which gives Mickey Graham’s side a decent outside chance of retaining their top flight status.
Key to their success were outstanding performances from the long-serving duo of Martin Reilly and Niall Murray while corner-forward Conor Madden belted home two brilliantly-taken goals either side of half-time to earn only a second win over the Rossies in a dozen meetings.
The westerners opened the scoring through Niall Daly before Cavan, as has been customary in this league, took charge early on, Chris Conroy, Murray and Jack Brady all pointing.
Kerry native Conor Cox landed two points for Roscommon, one a magical effort from the wing, either side of a classy Reilly score from play.
Approaching half-time, there was nothing in it, with Conor Hussey, Cox and Cathal Cregg on the mark for Roscommon and Madden and Murray scoring for the home side.
However, the crucial score of the contest arrived with the final play of the first half. Reilly won a break from a kick-out - Cavan routed the visitors’ restarts all day - and fed Madden, who raced along the end-line and drilled home a superb goal to leave it 1-7 to 0-8 at half-time.
Roscommon would regain the lead midway through the third quarter with frees from sub Donie Smith, Cregg and a super effort from captain Enda Smith. But once Madden gathered a perfect long ball from Murray and planted to the net again, Cavan didn’t look back.
Roscommon lost Ultan Harney to a straight red card with 20 minutes to play and Cavan won the final quarter by 1-6 to 0-1.
Another high ball from Murray was flicked to the net by Reilly and the Killygarry man added the next point, with Conor Moynagh, Dara McVeety and man-of-the-match Murray all raising further white flags as Graham’s side won pulling up.
Cavan: R Galligan, J McLoughlin, P Faulkner, C Moynagh (0-1), C Brady, C Conroy (0-2, 0-1f), C Rehill, P Graham, K Clarke, M Reilly (1-3, 0-1f), D McVeety (0-1), N Murray (0-2), N Clerkin, J Brady (0-2, 0-1f), C Madden (2-1, 0-1m). Subs: G Smith (0-1) for Rehill (44 mins), T Galligan for Graham (44), P Smith for J Brady (52), S Murray for C Brady (58), C Mackey for Madden (63)
Roscommon: D O’Malley (0-1, 0-1f), D Murray, C Daly, E McGrath, C Hussey (0-1), N Daly (0-1), R Daly, T O’Rourke, E Smith (0-1), S Kiloran, U Harney, N Kilroy (0-1), C Cox (0-5, 0-4f), C Devaney, C Cregg (0-2, 0-1f). Subs: D Smith (0-1, 0-1f) for Kilroy (h-t), G Patterson for Kiloran (51), A Lyons for Hussey (56), C Fitzmaurice for Cox (64), H Darcy for McGrath (67)
Ref: David Gough (Meath)