Laois 1-6 Cavan 3-10
Two goals from half-time sub Stephen Murray helped Cavan to a 10-point win over Laois at MW Hire O'Moore Park on Sunday afternoon.
This fixture fell foul of Storm Ciara last weekend and while the pitch passed an inspection, it was played in foul conditions in Portlaoise, with the visitors striking for goals either side of the break to record their second win of the campaign.
After three rounds of games in Division 2 it’s incredibly tight, with Cavan now on four points alongside Armagh and Westmeath; Laois and Roscommon on three; and Kildare, Fermanagh and Clare all on two each.
With the league placings having an impact on this year’s All-Ireland (only Division 2 teams and provincial finalists will be eligible for the Qualifiers), it’s a division where survival is the name of the game.
Cavan had the wind in the first half and they registered the first score with 30 seconds on the clock through Oisín Pierson.
John O’Loughlin levelled things up but Cavan got back on top through Pierson and Bryan Magee after 11 minutes.
Evan O'Carroll and Cavan wing back Gerard Smith, who landed three from play in the first half, traded scores before Laois took the lead for the first time after 21 minutes.
They worked a free short from the wing and the ball flashed across the goal where Evan O'Carroll got a toe to it. His effort came back off the post but Eoin Lowry was first to react and he smashed the ball to the net.
Cavan made a mess of the resulting kick-out and Laois won a free which Mark Barry converted after 22 minutes to leave them 1-3 to 0-4 ahead.
However, Cavan finished the half strongly with Pierson, Smith and Bryan Magee all pointing to leave them two clear as we entered four minutes of injury time.
And that would prove a costly period for Laois as Cavan scored a fortuitous goal through Evan Doughty, who was surely going for a point when his effort hung in the air and deceived Niall Corbet by going in via the far post.
Laois would then lose Robbie Pigott to a black card as suddenly the game started to slip away from the home side.
Cavan took a 1-8 to 1-3 lead into the break and used their man advantage straight away on the restart as Oisín Kiernan popped a ball into space where sub Murray got to the ball before goalkeeper Corbet and fisted it to the net.
Laois had chances to narrow the gap but Cavan remained a safe distance clear and after Gary Walsh saw his late penalty saved by Cavan goalkeeper Raymond Galligan, Murray's injury-time goal wrapped up a good afternoon for Cavan.
LAOIS: N Corbet; B Byrne, M Timmons, G Hanrahan; S O'Flynn, R Pigott, P O'Sullivan; J O'Loughlin (0-2), S Byrne; M Keogh, C Murphy, E Lowry (1-0); M Barry (0-1, free), K Lillis, E O'Carroll (0-3, two frees, one 45).
Subs: D O'Connor for Keogh (h/t), T Collins for Byrne (45 mins), R Munnelly for Murphy (49), G Walsh for O'Flynn (inj - 60), D Whelan for O'Carroll (64)
CAVAN: R Galligan (0-1, free); M Reilly, P Faulkner, K Brady; G Smith (0-3), C Brady, O Kiernan; T Galligan, C Conroy; L Fortune, B Magee (0-3, one free, one mark), E Doughty (1-0); O Pierson (0-3), G McKiernan, J Smith.
Subs: S Murray (2-0) for Fortune (h/t), C Madden for Conroy (51 mins), L Buchanan for Smith (69), P Gilcreest for Doughty (71), S Smith for Magee (73)
Referee: N Cullen (Fermanagh).