Cavan broke their losing streak to give themselves a fighting chance of retaining their top flight league status for 2020.
In front of over 6,000 fans, Cavan shot 16 wides but a hat-trick of goals saw them pick up their first points of the season at the expense of a Roscommon side which had won their last six meetings.
After the game, Mullinaghta and Cavan boss Mickey Graham was full of praise for Gowna clubman Conor Madden who helped himself to a brace of goals: “Conor showed great hands to get on the ball and then great feet to put away his chances really well. Goals are crucial in tight matches and to have someone who can put away the limited goal chances that come around in these types of matches is terrific.”
At the back, Cavan were rock solid on the restart and Graham delighted in talking up the discipline his charges showed in keeping the Rossies goal-less.
Roscommon had the wind at their backs in the first half but Cavan ‘keeper Galligan did his best to take the wind out of their sails. Fourteen minutes into the game, Galligan dived at Shane Kiloran’s feet after Conor Cox crossed the ball, soccer-style, from the end-line to create a goal chance for his team-mate. Five minutes later, Galligan’s gymnastics saw him tip the ball over the bar from Niall Gilroy’s dipping effort that looked certain to find the net.
Cavan opened up a 0-4 to 0-2 lead after Martin Reilly’s 13th minute point but some poor tackling by the hosts’ defence allowed Conor Cox and Conor Hussey to make it all-square (0-4 apiece) for the second time in the game after 19 minutes.
But better was to come from Cavan. After a smashing move, Jason McLoughlin put Conor Madden through and the corner forward hammered home to given them a 1-7 to 0-8 lead at the interval.
Cavan shot eight wides to Roscommon’s one in the first half and wind-aided Cavan continued to out-do the visitors on that front on the restart too.
With half-time sub Donie Smith showing up well, Roscommon upped the gears on the restart and an Enda Smith point edged them 0-11 to 1-7 ahead, but then the Rossies self-imploded, aided and abetted by Cavan producing their best form of the afternoon to notch 1-4 without reply .
The Gowna man latched onto a huge kick from the half-back line by Conor Moynagh. Two strides with the ball later and Madden was celebrating his second goal of the game with 45 minutes on the clock.
Further salt was poured into the visitors’ wound when Ultan Harney was shown a straight red card in the 49th minute for an attempted strike on Cavan defender Ciaran Brady.
Roscommon were on the ropes and Martin Reilly’s sweet finish for Cavan’s third goal (53) was the knockout blow.
“Cavan were the better team,” Roscommon boss Anthony Cunningham conceded. “We didn’t get to the level we were at the start of the season. There was a lack of energy there and we were seldom up to the pace of the game. We coughed up possession for all three of their goals. Lessons have to be learned.”
R Galligan; J McLoughlin, P Faulkner, C Moynagh (0-1); C Brady, C Conroy (0-2), C Rehill; P Graham, K Clarke; M Reilly (1-3, 0-1f), D McVeety (0-1), N Murray (0-3);, J Brady (0-1, f), C Madden (2-1, 0-1f).
T Galligan for P Graham (45); G Smith ( 0-1) for C Rehill (45); S Murray for C Brady (57); C Mackey for C Madden (64).
D O’Malley (0-1, ’45); 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; C Cox (0-6, 3f), C Devaney, C Cregg (0-2, 1f).
D Smith (0-1) for N Kilroy (h/t); G Patterson for S Kiloran (51); A Lyons for C Hussey (56); C Fitzmaurice for C Cox (64) ; H Darcy for E McGrath (65).
D Gough (Meath)