From the archive: Cavan defeat Kerry in 1970

From the archive

Coming into the 1970 season, Cavan were the defending Ulster champions but had something of a new-look side after the departures of long-serving players such as Charlie Gallagher, Gabriel Kelly and Tom Lynch.

For the opening of Terry Coyle Park, the Breffni men played All-Ireland champions Kerry for a set of plaques.

Prior to the match, host club Cavan Gaels played county champions Crosserlough in a challenge match.

“The Park was blessed by His Lordship, Most Rev Dr A Quinn, Bishop of Kilmore and the official opening was performed by the Vice-president of the Central Council and former President of the GAA, Seamus O Riain,” recorded this newspaper.

Cavan Gaels had purchased the gounds from the local Agricutural Show Committee for £1,000 in November, 1953.

“The total amount of money spent on the park to date amounts to £10,000.

“The club’s main source of revenue has been the weekly sessions of Bingo. The entire grounds were taken over last year when the club acquired the rights of the Gavin Lowe Cattle Mart and there is anow ample room for further development.

“The park is dedicated to the memory of the late Terry Coyle who was born only yards away from the grounds in Kilnavara. He was a member of the famous Cavan Slashers and quickly gained a reputation and won an All-Ireland medal in Cavan’s first success in 1933. Two years later at the age of 26 he was forced to retire because of ill health. Three years later, however, he lined out with the Cavan Slashers junior string and in 1941 he left hospital to see the SlASshers senior squad winning the county championship title. He died in 1944, aged 35.

“The new park was the official grounds of the old Cavan Slashers from about 1903 until the opening of Breffni Park in 1923.”

The visit of the Kingdom generated a significant buzz in the county, as the preview on these pages the week before indicated.

“A big attraction in the Kingdom’s line-out will be Mick O’Connell, who returned to the Kerry team recently after a few months’ lay-off but is still revered by followers all over the country and his presence alone should swell the attendance.

“The Cavan side is along usual lines. The only surprise is the inclusion of 17-year-old Ollie Leddy, Butlersbridge, who partners Ray Carolan at midfield. This should be a big experience for Leddy who looks like gaining a permanent place on the senior team and facing a man like O’Connell should not be too exacting for him. In attack, John Joe O’Reilly makes a return to the team after a long lay-off.”

On the day, Cavan were excellent as they pulled off a 1-12 to 0-13 victory before a huge crowd.

“As a happy augury for the future, Cavan seniors triumphed over All-Ireland champions Kerry in the new Terry Coyle Memorial Park, Cavan on Sunday last. Fittingly, this match between the two famed Gaelic counties was the first inter-county match to be played in the new grounds which had been blessed and officially opened prior to the Cavan v Crosserlough game.

“Cavan, as so often happened in the past, rose to the occasion and matched Kerry in every department and in the end snatched victory from the grasp of the All-Ireland champions. Although Kerry fielded six short of their All-Ireland squad, Cavan were similarly forced to field under strength but both teams served up some top-class football and Kerry pulled out a supreme effort in the last 10 minutes without success.

“Cavan’s future seems bright with a player of the calibre of Oliver Leddy, Butlersbridge. This 17-year-old St Patrick’s College student playing in his first senior outing had an outstanding game at midfield and his well-executed scores plus his fielding against such top-class opposition brought rounds of applause from both sets of supporters.”

Kerry were 0-3 to 0-2 ahead after eight minutes but Cavan had taken the lead, 0-7 to 0-6, at half-time.

The Kingdom were ahead by two with eight minutes remaining before Gene Cusack, “so often the saviour of Cavan on many occasions”, received a pass from Steve Duggan and sent a rasper of a shot to the net for a trademark goal.

A point on the full-time whistle from John Joe O’Reilly sealed the victory.

Cavan’s first-half scorers were Cusack (0-4, 2f), Leddy, Phil ‘Lightning’ Murray and Oliver Brady, with Cusack adding 1-1 in the second half, Hugh Newman a 45 and John Joe O’Reilly a brace of points.

“Cavan’s display against the All-Ireland champions was particularly praiseworthy and their latest form should give added encouragement to the selectors with their sights set on the Ulster Championship, which commences in a fortnight’s time with a home game against Fermanagh.

“In addition to Leddy, three players in particular must be singled out for special attention. Goalkeeper Paddy Lyons made three wonderful saves, two in the second half and one in particular from Din Joe Crowley was really magnificent.

“Gerry Murtagh, centre half-back who was a last-minute replacement, also had an outstanding game and his handling of Crowley, whom he held scoreless, made a big impression.

“Gene Cusack was the star in the attack and finished top scorer with 1-5. Others to play an important part were Brendan Donohoe, Jimmy Fay and Enda McGowan in defence.

“Ray Carolan gave Leddy good support at midfield until he retired injured in the last 10 minutes. In the forward line, Tom O’Reilly, John Joe O’Reilly and Phil Murray gave good support.”

For Kerry, Seamus Murphy, John O’Keeffe, Tom Prendergast and Derry Crowley were noted as the stand-out performers in the defence, with Mick O’Connell and Donie O’Sullivan impressive at midfield. Up front, the star of the attack was Brendan Lynch, ably assisted by Liam Higgins and Pat Moynihan.

The line-outs were as follows:

Cavan: Paddy Lyons, Frankie Dolan, Brendan Donohoe, Andy McCabe, Jimmy Fay, Gerry Murtagh, Enda McGowan, Ollie Leddy, Ray Carolan, Steve Duggan, Hugh Newman, Tom O’Reilly, Gene Cusack, John Joe O’Reilly, Phil Murray (capt.)

Subs: Oliver Brady

Kerry: A Fogarty, S Murphy, D Crowley, P Shea, M Aherne, J O’Keeffe, T Prendergast, M O’Connell, D O’Sullivan, B Lynch, DJ Crowley, E O’Donoghue, C Callaghan, L Higgins, M O’Dwyer

Sub: P Moynihan

Ref: Joe Johnston

In the curtain-raiser between Crosserlough and Cavan Gaels, the Lough won by 5-4 to 2-7, John Joe O’Reilly (2-2), Michael Galligan (2-0) and Gene Cusack with the majors for the winners.

Both sides were missing a number of regulars but “Cavan Gaels were hardest hit” as they lined out without John McNamara, Dominic Twomey and Phil Murray. Crosserlough were without Sean Byers and Andy McCabe, who came on at half-time.

A PJ Carroll penalty midway through the second half brought the Gaels closer but they could not close the gap. Interestingly, Cavan manager Gabriel Kelly lined out at full-forward for the Gaels in the curtain-raiser while Gene Cusack, Andy McCabe, Brendan Donohoe and John Joe O’Reilly played both games.

Cavan Gaels: P Blessing, G Sheridan, F Glancy, JJ Reilly, PJ Carroll, O Galligan, G Carroll, T Greene, P Reilly, O Malone, E McGovern, H Reilly, H Smith, G Kelly, P McNamara

Sub: T Monaghan for P McNamara

Crosserlough: JP Rehill, H Donohoe, B Donohoe, D Crotty, D King, P Rehill, P Gilchrist, M Cusack, P O’Hara, M Galligan, JJ O’Reilly, P Cusack, PV McCabe, G Cusack, P Boyle

Sub: A McCabe for M Cusack

Ref: Fintan Tierney

Main pic: Back (from left): Gerry Murtagh, Ollie Leddy, John Joe O'Reilly, Jimmy Fay, Paddy Lyons, Brendan Donohoe, Hugh Newman, Andy McCabe, Gene Cusack.

Front: Steve Duggan, Enda McGowan, Phil Murray, Tom O'Reilly, Frankie Dolan, Ray Carolan

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