McKiernan's five-star showing helps Cavan grind out win

Story by Paul Fitzpatrick

Wednesday, 3rd January, 2018 10:58pm

McKiernan's five-star showing helps Cavan grind out win

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Cavan 0-15

St Mary’s 0-12

Late points from Niall McKiernan (two) and Darragh Kennedy saw Cavan come from behind to claim a hard-earned win over Sigerson Cup holders St Mary’s on the 3G pitch at Kingspan Breffni in tonight's McKenna Cup opener.

The Blues trailed by 0-8 to 0-5 at the end of a lacklustre first half in which ‘The Ranch’, playing with the wind into the stadium end, were much the better side.

However, Cavan upped it after the break, with Padraig Faulkner moving to midfield and subs Kennedy and Thomas Galligan impressing.

While some of his shooting was a little wayward, towering Lacken man McKiernan delivered a sparkling performance, landing 0-5 from play over the 70 minutes and coming up with vital scores when they were most needed.

Cavan lost debutant David Brady to a facial injury after just 10 seconds and although McKiernan opened the scoring, St Mary’s kicked three in a row through the excellent Liam Rafferty, Oisin O’Neill and Darragh Kavanagh.

McKiernan, with a huge point after a long kick-out from clubmate Ray Galligan, pulled one back but Cavan were soon 0-5 to 0-2 down.

Despite a Conor Madden 45, one from play by Bryan Magee and a third for McKiernan, Cavan went in three in arrears.

By the 48th minute, they were level at 0-10 apiece after scores from Conor Brady (Gowna), Ado Cole, Jason McLoughlin – who had a superb match – along with a Magee free and a super effort from Faulkner.

The sides traded scores, Thomas Galligan with a well-struck left-footed effort and Madden (from 45 metres) on the mark but St Mary’s hung in there, despite a couple of wides, and were level at 0-12 apiece entering the home stretch after Oisin O’Neill pointed.

But Cavan finished strongest, McKiernan kicking a beauty, Kennedy another and the big Lacken man punching over to make sure of the win with his fifth point.

Next up is Antrim away this Sunday.

See next week's print issue for full report.

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