Cavan dismantle Wicklow at Aughrim

Cavan 2-16 Wicklow 1-5

By Cóilín Duffy

Cavan led throughout, as they delivered a strong performance, coasting to a 14-point qualifier win over Wicklow at Joule Park, Aughrim.

Mattie McGleenan's charges held the Garden County to a single point in the opening half, and had 1-6 on the board before the hosts opened their tally.

Wicklow's season looked promising after a hard earned victory over Offaly in the first round of Leinster, but after a 23-point defeat to Dublin, John Evans side came crashing to Earth once more, against a Cavan side that dismantled them.

Martin Reilly of Cavan in action against Dan Keane, left, and Dean Healy of Wicklow at Joule Park in Aughrim. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Against the wind in the opening half, Cavan led by 2-8 to 0-1 at the turn-around with wing-backs Ciaran Brady and Martin Reilly both finding the back of the Wicklow net.

Gearoid McKiernan, who finished with five points from play; kicked two of Cavan's early scores, and his side were 0-5 to 0-0 ahead after 15 minutes.

Cavan continued to surge forward, and were awarded a 20th minute penalty, which Martin Reilly slotted home.

Referee Jerome Henry awarding the place kick after Wicklow full-back Ross O'Brien had been harshly judged to have brought down Killian Clarke close to goals.

Wicklow eventually opened their account 10 minutes before the break, when Rory Finn pointed from play, and indeed it wasn't until the 33rd minute before his side got their first free of this match.

Cavan never yielded and they found the net for the second time in the half through Ciaran Brady who burst through the Wicklow rear-guard, and helped his side to a deserved 13-point interval lead.

The second half was more finely balanced in terms of scoring, but Cavan had laid the foundations following a solid opening 35 minutes.

Cavan kept the score-board motoring early on the restart with McKiernan, Caoimhin O'Reilly and Seanie Johnston all on target.

Dara McVeety was also contributing well for Cavan in terms of general support play and the Breffni County skipper was also on target, as Cavan moved 2-12 to 0-3 ahead, with 16 minutes of normal time remaining.

Wicklow worked hard, with goalkeeper Mark Jackson again showing his fine dead-ball accuracy, with the first of three long-distance frees for the half.

Cian Mackey also showed well on his introduction, with two points from the bench, and while Wicklow did manage to breach the Cavan rear-guard, with James Stafford finding the net, the hosts had too much of a gap to bridge, as Cavan booked a place in Monday's All-Ireland Qualifiers Round 2 draw.

Scorers for Cavan: C Brady 1-3; G McKiernan (1f) 0-5; M Reilly (1-0pen) 1-0; C Reilly (2f), C Mackey (1f), S Johnston (1f) 0-2 each; D McVeety, O Kiernan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Wicklow: M Jackson (2f, 1 45') 0-3; J Stafford 1-0; R Finn, D Hayden (1f) 0-1 each.

CAVAN: J Farrelly; K Brady, P Faulkner, E Flanagan; C Brady, C Moynagh, M Reilly; S McCormack, K Clarke; B Magee, G McKiernan, O Kiernan; C O’Reilly, D McVeety, S. Johnston. Subs- C Bradley for Kiernan (45); C Mackey (0-2) for Johnston (51); J Wharton for Moynagh (60); N Clerkin for O’Reilly (63).

WICKLOW: M Jackson; E Murtagh, R O’Brien, P Merrigan; J Crowe, D Healy, S Kearon; R Finn, J Stafford; T Smyth, J Snell, D Hayden; S Furlong, J McGrath, M Kenny. SUBS: D Murphy for Crowe (34); D Fitpatrick for McGrath (HT); C Magee for Kearon (42).

REFEREE: Jerome Henry (Mayo)

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