Roscommon 0-15 - Cavan 0-13: Kevin McStay hailed his side’s never-say-die attitude as a late rally, inspired by Ciaráin Murtagh, yielded a precious win against previously unbeaten Cavan.
Sub Seánie Johnston’s 61st minute point secured a 0-13 to 0-12 lead for the Breffni Blues but Murtagh kicked three late scores to leave the Rossies on the cusp of promotion.
“This was a big match for the development of our squad. It was a proper match. It means that we’re getting a little bit better every week. There was a lot of character shown. The body language was great in the last 15 minutes when the game was in the balance. The subs that came in made an impact and I was happy with the effort,” said McStay.
Cavan made a whirlwind start and had a 0-5 to 0-1 lead after 12 minutes thanks to points from Adrian Cole, a fisted effort, Martin Reilly, Caoimhin O’Reilly (a free), Cian Mackey and Ciarán Brady. Roscommon gained a foothold with points from Murtagh and corner-back Fergal Lennon. But Gearoid McKiernan’s 25th-minute effort left the Breffni men in pole position, leading by 0-6 to 0-3.
However, the home side finished the half in stunning fashion: Donie Smith got the ball rolling from an acute angle before Diarmuid Murtagh (2), Conor Devaney, Ciarán Lennon and Ciaráin Murtagh (a free) handed the Rossies a 0-9 to 0-6 interval lead.
The half-time whistle came at the right time for Cavan as they re-established their dominance in the third quarter, led by the excellent McKiernan. A brace of O’Reilly frees alongside Brady’s second of the day restored parity before two superb McKiernan efforts handed the visitors a two-point lead. It was all to play for, and both goalkeepers were called into action. James Featherston made a crucial block, while Raymond Galligan miraculously denied Smith at the other end.
Roscommon’s bench made an impact as Enda Smith and Cathal Cregg kicked points in quick succession, adding to Donie Smith’s 49 th minute effort. When Galligan stroked over a 54th minute ’45, followed by Johnston’s lead effort, Cavan looked to have done enough but a rallying finish, inspired by Murtagh, tipped the balance in the Rossies’ favour.
Scorers for Roscommon:
C Murtagh 0-5 (3f), D Murtagh 0-3 (1f), D Smith 0-2, F Lennon, C Devaney, C Lennon, E Smith, C Cregg 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cavan:
G McKiernan, C O’Reilly (3f) 0-3 each, C Brady 0-2, A Cole, C Mackey, M Reilly, R Galligan (’45), S Johnston 0-1 each.
J Featherston; D Murray, P Domican, F Lennon; R Daly, B Stack, N Daly; T O’Rourke, C Compton; C Murtagh, N Kilroy, C Devaney; D Smith, C Lennon, D Murtagh.
E Smith for O’Rourke (53), C Daly for R. Daly (53), C Cregg for C Lennon (51), U Harney for C. Daly (61, b/c), F Cregg for D Murtagh (65).
R Galligan; J McLoughlin, P Faulkner, C Brady; M Reilly, E Flanagan, C Moynagh; G McKiernan, K Clarke; C Bradley, B Magee, O Kiernan; C O’Reilly, D McVeety, A Cole.
C Mackey for Moynagh (26), D Brady for Cole (45), S Johnston for O’Reilly (60), N Clerkin for Bradley (65), S Murray for Magee (70).
C Reilly (Meath).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved