14-man Cavan exit McKenna Cup with loss to Donegal

Story by Paul Fitzpatrick

Wednesday, 9th January, 2019 9:54pm

14-man Cavan exit McKenna Cup with loss to Donegal

Cavan manager Mickey Graham.

Donegal 1-20
Cavan 1-12

Paul Fitzpatrick
at McCumhaill Park

Cavan were well beaten in Ballybofey tonight as an outstanding Donegal forward line proved too hot to handle in this round three Dr McKenna Cup clash.

The Blues now exit the competition, although their cause was not helped by playing for 63 minutes, plus injury time, with 14 men here.

At half-time, the home side were in front by 0-10 to 0-6, with Michael Langan the star of the show. The St Michael’s man kicked 0-6 (1f) in the opening 35 minutes, with most of the scores coming from around the 45-metre line in a superb exhibition.

Cavan suffered a hammer blow just seven minutes in when David Philips picked up a straight red card for a late challenge on Donegal corner-forward Jamie Brennan.

Donegal opened the scoring with a screamer from Langan before Cavan levelled, James Smith and Conor Bradley teeing up Conor Madden – Cavan’s best player on the night – for the leveller.

Youngster Niall O’Donnell landed the next, the speedy Brennan another and Martin McElhinney fisted his first point either side of the red card for Philips as Donegal stretched their lead to 0-4 to 0-1.

Cavan’s best spell then followed. Pierce Smith made a good run and was picked out to slot over, Ray Galligan – who had another fine match – converted a 43-metre free and then Madden kicked a brilliant point, creating space with deft footwork and supplying a long-range finish to match.

Donegal, though, soon took charge again and they would add scores from Langan (free), O’Donnell and Langan again (two more excellent points).

Madden landed another eyecatching score for the visitors and although that man Langan swung in another beauty, Paul Graham replied before the break to make it a four-point game at the short whistle.

Donegal were on the front foot straight away on the restart, McElhinney – who was making his 100th senior appearance - landing his second point before Brennan did likewise to make it 0-12 to 0-6 in the 38th minute.

Pierce Smith (free) and Ryan McHugh traded scores before Smith kicked a superb score under pressure from the right wing. Ray Galligan landed a 45 to make it a four-point game again but Declan Bonner’s side found another gear again.

Langan (free), O’Donnell and Langan (free) eased Donegal into a 0-16 to 0-9 advantage and the match was ended as a contest with 11 minutes to play when Jamie Brennan goaled.

Brennan skipped by Luke Fortune and just when it looked like the ball had been knocked out of his grasp, he caught it on the half-volley and his perfectly-placed shot beat Galligan at the far post.

The Bundoran man quickly added another point and although sub Cian Mackey converted a good free, a similar effort from Langan and a point from Oisin Langan made it 1-19 to 0-10.

To their credit, Cavan – chasing a better score difference to have any chance of qualifying for the semi-finals – pushed forward and they were reward when sub Kevin Tierney capitalised on some quick thinking from Bradley to punch the ball to the net.

Martin Reilly quickly tacked on another point which was cancelled out by a second for Gallen before Fortune rounded off the scoring with a left-footed effort as Donegal ran out eight-point winners.

Cavan: Raymond Galligan (0-1, 45), David Philips, Padraig Faulkner, Jason McLoughlin, Ciaran Brady, Martin Reilly (0-1), Conor Rehill, Michael Argue, James Galligan, Paul Graham (0-1), Stephen Smith, Pierce Smith (0-3, 1f), Conor Bradley, James Smith, Conor Madden (0-3)
Subs: Conor Moynagh for Faulkner (15 mins), Luke Fortune (0-1) for J Smith (ht), Niall Clerkin for James Galligan (46), Cian Mackey (0-1f) for P Smith (48), Kevin Tierney (1-0) for S Smith (52), Sean O’Connor for McLoughlin (55, temp.)

Donegal: Shaun Patton, Caolan Ward, Brendan McCole, Conor Morrison, Ryan McHugh (0-1), Eamon Doherty, Martin McElhinney (0-2), Hugh McFadden, Jason McGee, Paul Brennan, Niall O’Donnell  (0-3), Caolan McGonagle, Martin O’Reilly, Michael Langan (0-9, 5f), Jamie Brennan (1-4)
Subs: Peadar Mogan for P Brennan (45), John Campbell for O’Reilly (55), Paddy Dolan for McHugh (65), Lorcan Connor for J Brennan (66), Oisin Gallen (0-2) for  McGonagle (66)

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