Cavan 2-13 Carlow 0-12: Hosts Cavan became one of a select group of counties to win an All-Ireland qualifier following the infamous six-day-turnaround.
It was a laboured victory, but manager Terry Hyland was proud of his team’s character.
“To play again within six days of going out of the (provincial) championship isn’t easy, from a psychological and a physical point of view.
“The lads were a bit shell-shocked by the Tyrone result last time out but that’s only natural because they conceded 2-1 in 90 seconds which knocked them for six.”
Cavan opened in turbo-charged mode and quickly went 1-1 to no-score in front, the goal coming from Eugene Keating after Cian Mackey’s shot dropped invitingly on the edge of the small square.
Carlow struggled to convert their hard-won possession into scores, faced as they were by a contrary wind and the infamous Cavan blanket defence.
Hyland made no apologies for his team reverting to type after their concession of 5-18 to Tyrone: “I suppose, psychologically, we were still hurting from the last day and we probably sat back a bit too much on the back of it, but it was only natural that we were going to go a bit more defensive.
“In fairness to our lads, Carlow dropped back too and closed off a lot of avenues and made it hard for us in terms of getting our shot selection right.”
A pair of howitzer points from full-back Daniel St. Ledger boosted Carlow’s cause in the run-up to half-time but Cavan’s executioner-in-chief Gearoid McKiernan countered with a brace and turned provider for Killian Clarke (34) to ease the raging hot match favourites into a1-6 to 0-5 interval lead.
Carlow were far too reliant on their free-takers and they weren’t helped by the black-carding of go-to man Darragh Foley in the 44th minute, by which stage they were chasing a 0-7 to 1-8 deficit.
Cavan struggled to chisel out another goal chance but they did hit the jackpot again in the 51st minute when McVeety and Jack Brady combined to leave Mackey with a virtual tap-in.
Carlow were laboured in their efforts, even after McVeety’s subsequent dismissal (53), and they never got a sniff of the goal which might have gotten them out of jail.
Scorers for Cavan:
G McKiernan (0-5, 1f); C Mackey, E Keating (1-1 each); S Johnston (0-3, 3 frees); T Hayes, T Corr, D McVeety (0-1 each)
Scorers for Carlow:
D St Ledger (0-5, 4 frees, 1 45); D Foley (0-2, 2 frees); J Murphy, H C Blake (free), E Ruth, A Kelly, D O’Brien (0-1 each)
R Galligan; K Brady, R Dunne, P Faulkner; F Flanagan, C Moynagh, C Brady; T Corr, L Buchanan; D McVeety, G McKiernan, K Clarke; C Mackey, E Keating, S Johnston
M Reilly for L Buchanan (22); J Brady for K Brady (h-t); G Smith for M Reilly (40); T Hayes for E Keating (B.C, 52); N Murray for C Brady (60).
R Molloy: B J Molloy, D St Ledger, K Nolan; G Kelly, J Murphy, B Kavanagh; E Ruth, S Gannon; A Kelly, D O’Brien, H Gahan; C Blake, D Foley, D Smithers.
Subs; D Walshe for D Smithers (42); D Lunney for D Foley (B.C, 45); D Moran for D O’Brien (60); P O’Halloran for C Blake (66); B Cawley for K Nolan (69); C Bailey for E Ruth (74).
F Kelly (Longford)
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