Huge result on the road as Cavan grind it out on Leeside

NFL Division 2 Round 3

Cavan 0-17

Cork 0-16

Cavan lived dangerously last Saturday against Cork after a slow start with plenty of turbulence but showed character to scrap out a one-point win in this National League round 3 clash. The first half saw a black card shown to Killian Brady as well as three blood sub replacements for Raymond Galligan’s side. Cork could and should have hit the net at least once in the opening half but somehow the boys in blue were only three points behind at the break having played well below the standard.

In fact, Cavan hit an eight-minute spell of control between the 24th and 32nd minutes and ran in four points to lead by the minimum. Cork’s reply of four in a row scratched that out before the break, Cork dismantling the Cavan kick-out in first-half injury time.

A major positive takeaway from the victory was the performance of Paddy Lynch who finished the game with nine points to his name. The Crosserlough man was on fire with his frees as he converted 100% of his opportunities despite some of them being extremely difficult. He also added three points from open play in a sparkling display.

Cavan opened the scoring after a minute when Ciaran Brady played a kick-and-follow with Paddy Lynch before fisting the ball over the bar from the right side of the goals. A Brian Hurley free after a clever foul by Oisin Kiernan stopped Colm O’Callaghan’s run through on goal followed but Kiernan had to be replaced temporarily as a result of the challenge.

A Gary O’Rourke kick-out set Cavan on the attack a minute later and Gerard Smith played Caoimhin O’Reilly in for a fisted point from an acute angle to edge Cavan back ahead. A Mark Cronin ’45 levelled the game on the seventh minute as Cork’s physicality went up a notch.

A block by blood sub Cian Reilly saw Chris Og Jones’ shot go over the bar instead of under, giving the Rebels the lead for the first time.

From the resulting kick-out, Cork won the breaking ball close to the sideline and within a matter of seconds Brian O’Driscoll had it over the bar. Cavan, now down by two, needed to win the next kick-out and did so with Niall Carolan gathering on his 45-metre line. A quick attack from there saw Gerard Smith give the final pass to Caoimhin O’Reilly for his second fisted point of the day.

Back (from left): Fergal O’Rourke, Brían O’Connell, Paddy Meade, Cian Madden, Ryan Donohoe, James Smith, Ryan Brady, Gerry Smith, Gary O’Rourke, Oisin Brady, Killian Clarke, Cormac McKeogh, Tiarnan Madden, Paddy Lynch. Front: Cormac O’Reilly, Ryan O’Neill, Peter Smith, Cian Reilly, Conor Rehill, Caoimhin O’Reilly, Ciaran Brady, Oisin Kiernan, Padraig Faulkner, Jason McLoughlin, Killian Brady, Niall Carolan. Photo by George Hatchell

With the game getting hot and heavy in different areas of the field, a contest for possession was won by Killian Brady over Brian Hurley but in the afters, Brady was shown a black card for an attempt trip and may have been lucky that the referee wasn’t the picky sort. Hurley converted the free, restoring Cork’s two-point advantage.

Less than a minute later Cork almost capitalised on the absence of the Cavan full-back as Matty Taylor squared a ball for Eoghan McSweeney but his palmed effort came back out off the crossbar. A brilliant 35-metre solo run through the middle of the Cork defence by Gerard Smith was finished off with a point with the clock reading 14.

Cork quickly restored their two-point lead as they won their own kick-out and worked it quickly forward for Matty Taylor to split the posts. A really impressive Cork counter-attack should have ended up in the back of the net after 17 minutes but Brían O’Connell’s diving block denied Ian Maguire the major.

Cork were then reduced to 14 players as their centre-back Rory Maguire was shown a black card for dragging down Lynch. Despite this, Mark Cronin fisted over a point a minute before Killian Brady returned to the game as the hosts led by three.

Cavan clawed one point back while up a man thanks to a foul on Ryan O’Neill, with Lynch doing his duty with the free. With 30 minutes played, Ciaran Brady won a free on the 45-metre line and Lynch, at his ease, sailed it over the bar off the grass. From the resulting kick-out, Cavan won possession and Lynch raised a white flag to level the sides.

Having come on as a temporary replacement for James Smith, clubmate Conor Rehill had a positive impact with a point to put Cavan ahead by one with three minutes remaining in the first half. Unfortunately, that was Cavan’s last score before the break as Cork took control again.

Two points from corner-forward Chris Og Jones left Cork ahead by one with a minute of first-half injury time played. A minute after that, Cork were three ahead as points from Colm O’Callaghan and Brian Hurley punished Cavan’s inability to win their own kick-out.

Cavan returned after the break a different animal with Lynch’s free reducing the deficit to two. A questionable free given against Conor Rehill saw Mark Cronin grab a second but Cavan were now dictating the pace. Half-time sub Cian Madden injected pace to send over two quickfire points on the third and fourth minutes of the second half.

The sides were level four minutes later as Lynch used all his power to keep the ball and send over a point on his right foot. The cracks in the Cork side started to show when Luke Fahy was shown a yellow card to go with his earlier black resulting in his side going down to 14 for the rest of the game.

The ensuing free was 60 metres from goal at an angle that looked too acute for most but Paddy Lynch placed it on the ground and had enough and no more in the kick to get it over the bar for the score of the game.

Two more frees from Lynch after Cavan’s pressure had forced Cork into mistakes left Cavan with a three-point lead and 13 minutes to play.

A 45 from Mark Cronin ended a 22-minute spell without a Cork score and also put a stop to Cavan’s run of six points in a row. Cavan then slipped into a more cautious style of play as they held on to possession for over three minutes before giving away the ball. To compound the disappointment, Padraig Faulkner picked up his second card in five minutes, reducing Cavan to 14 for the remainder of the game.

A free with four minutes left and one three minutes into injury time by Steven Sherlock saw the sides level with three of the announced injury-time minutes remaining. Cavan thankfully got back to attacking ways and with 41 minutes played in the second half, Gerard Smith passed to Oisin Brady on the Cork 13-metre line. Brady, with only winning on his mind, beat three Cork defenders before fisting the ball over the bar.

Denn’s Oisin Kiernan won a game-winning interception on the Cork 45-metre line and played it forward to Man of the Match Lynch, who calmly curled the insurance point over the bar. Referee Brendan Griffin still had time left on his watch and Cork did get to the other end of the field but Steven Sherlock’s free was brushed over the bar before the final whistle sounded.

Cork: Christopher Kelly; Maurice Shanley, Tommy Walsh, Daniel O’Mahony; Luke Fahy, Rory Maguire, Matty Taylor (0-1); Ian Maguire, Colm O’Callaghan (0-1); Eoghan McSweeney, Ruairi Deane, Brian O’Driscoll (0-1); Mark Cronin (0-4,2’45’s,1f), Brian Hurley (0-2f), Chris Óg Jones (0-3)

Subs: Sean Powter for M Cronin, Fionn Herlihy for R Deane, Steven Sherlock(0-3f) for B Hurley, Darragh Cashman for M Shanley, Jack Cahalane for E McSweeney

Cavan: Gary O’Rourke; Jason McLoughlin, Killian Brady, Oisin Kiernan (Denn); Padraig Faulkner, Niall Carolan, Brían O’Connell; Killian Clarke, Ryan Donohoe; Ciaran Brady (0-1), Gerard Smith (0-1), Ryan O’Neill, Paddy Lynch(0-9, 6f), James Smith, Caoimhin O’Reilly (0-2)

Subs: Conor Rehill (0-1) for J Smith, Oisin Brady for K Brady, Cian Madden for R Donohoe, Tiarnan Madden for C O’Reilly, Cormac O’Reilly for R O’Neill, Cian Reilly for N Carolan.