John Evans takes issue with critics after Roscommon beat Cavan
Roscommon manager was disappointed with criticism of team after Sligo defeat
Roscommon’s Enda Smith scores a late goal at Kingspan Breffni Park. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho
For the second year in a row, Roscommon ended to Cavan’s championship aspirations at the qualifier stage but the main talking point after the game was the bizarre dismissal of Cavan number nine Tomás Corr as the teams lined up for the second-half throw-in at Kingspan Breffni Park.
Midfielder Corr was red-carded for apparently striking out at Roscommon’s Ultan Harney in an off-the-ball incident a couple of minutes before the half-time whistle sounded.
“The sending-off changed the game from our perspective because it left us with a man down for the entire second half,” Cavan manager Terry Hyland said after viewing footage of the incident.
“It looked as if the two lads got entangled but the officials didn’t deal with it until three or four minutes later. I can only think that they must have looked at TV footage [at half-time] to review it.”
In the humid conditions and on the bone-dry surface, Cavan’s depleted resources never looked like reeling in their opponents’ 1-10 to 1-7 half-time advantage.
The hosts did enjoy the perfect start, however, when Martin Reilly slipped the ball under advancing Roscommon goalkeeper Darren O’Malley after just 34 seconds.
Latecomers suffered a double whammy, for less than two minutes later good work from late call-up Ultan Harney ended with Cathal Cregg executing a slide-rule shot into the Cavan net.
Superb points from Enda Smith and Harney helped to make it a three point game (1-6 to 1-3) by the 23rd minute before Cavan rose to the challenge.
Neat efforts from Gearoid McKiernan, Cian Mackey and Martin Reilly levelled the tie for the fourth time in the opening half. But this was the precursor for Harney to split the posts and give the visitors a lead they would not relinquish.
Cavan did keep chipping away but John Evans’s team were able to counter-punch to good effect. Impressive Cavan substitute Barry Reilly helped pull it back to four points (1-12 to 2-13) after 49 minutes but that was as good as it got for the Ulster men.
Roscommon kept their foot on the pedal till the death with Enda Smith’s palmed goal (71) giving the scoreline a rosier complexion for the visitors.
Reacting to the criticism his camp received following their provincial championship defeat to Sligo, Evans called for critics to show some perspective. “Will people ever be patient with these lads and give them some breathing space.
Plenty of backbone
A naturally disappointed Hyland said talks with his players and with the county board about him staying in charge for a fifth season would take place “in the coming weeks”.
CAVAN: R Galligan; J McLoughlin, J McEnroe, K Brady; N Murray (0-2), Flanagan, D O’Reilly; G McKiernan (0-1), T Corr; C Mackey (0-3, two frees), D Veety, M Reilly (1-3); R Flanagan, M Argue (0-1), N McDermott (0-1). Subs: T Hayes for N McDermott (19 mins), C Moynagh for F Flanagan (half-time), B Reilly (0-3, two frees) for K Brady (49 mins), C Brady (0-1) for D O’Reilly (49 mins), M Dunne (0-1) for R Flanagan (58 mins), P Smith for M Argue (69 mins). Yellow Cards: F Flanagan (24 mins), D McVeety (61 mins). Red Card: Tomás Corr . ROSCOMMON: D O’Malley; S McDermott, N Collins, D Murray; N Daly, D Keenan, C Cafferky; I Kilbride, K Higgins; C Daly (0-2), C Cregg (1-1), E Smith (2-1); U Harney (0-3), D Shine (0-3, two frees), C Murtagh (0-3, one free). Subs: D Murtagh (0-3) for K Higgins (45 mins), R Stack for I Kilbride (50 mins), D Smith (0-1, free) for C Murtagh (55 mins), B Murtagh for D Shine (61 mins), T Featherston for D Murray (64 mins), C Connolly for C Cregg (65 mins). Yellow Cards: D Murray (60 mins), E Smith (61 mins).
Referee: D Gough (Meath).