Cavan’s U20 footballers shone under the floodlights at Kingspan Breffni to brush aside Louth in a largely one-sided Leo Murphy Cup tie this evening at Kingspan Breffni.
Making their bow in the competition, the hosts opened the scoring on a wet, cold night after 26 seconds with a sweet point from Cian Madden and never looked back.
Louth were briefly on level terms when the lively Keelan O’Neill split the posts after 90 seconds but the same player blew a chance of a goal three minutes later when he screwed his right footed shot low and wide of the post and the diving O’Rourke in the Cavan goal.
A procession of points thereafter fairly reflected the direction of the tide as Louth reeled in the face of nine successive Cavan points between the 6th and 19th minutes with the outstanding James Smith (Crosserlough) invariably the fountain of the hosts’ more potent attacks.
And even the enforced retirement of Smith just two minutes into the second half failed to stymie Cavan’s consolidation of their 1-13 to 0-3 interval lead.
Cavan’s first half major was notched by Knockbride clubman Philip Rogers in the 22nd minute and left the blues sitting pretty on the back of a 1-10 to 0-2 cushioneed lead.
With the wind at their backs in the second half, Louth had, predictably, more of the ball but they failed miserably to make any inroads into their opponents’ lead never mind threaten to erase it although unanswered points from Tom Jackson, Fergal Malone and Cathal Fleming (free) in the opening nine minutes of the second half did hint at better things to come for the visitors.
It was to prove to be a false dawn though for the Wee County with Philip Nulty’s interception (44) and Conor Gillespie’s pulled effort (45) signalling the chasing team’s long goodbye to any chance of a Lazarus-like comeback.
Cavan made Louth pay for their double-quick profligacy, applying the coup de gras in the 47th minute when, after a patient move, Diarmaid Carney laid off the ball to Tiarnan Reilly and in a jiffy the Louth net was billowing.
The Cavan think-tank took their cue from Reilly’s goal to empty the bench but the blues’ dominance was unaltered.
Sub Darragh Dolan smacked home the runaway leaders’ third goal in the 59th minute to make it 3-15 to 0-8 before Tiarnan Reilly put the cherry on the cake with his second major two minutes into added-on time.
Louth notched the final two points of the night with Terry Reilly and Cathal Fleming (free) on target but they were scores with the word consolation stamped all over them.
Gary O’Rourke; Oisin Kiernan, Patrick Meade, Philip Nulty; John Cooke, Evan Finnegan, Ben Smith (0-1); Philip Rogers (1-2), James Smith (0-1); Luke Molloy, Cian Madden (0-4, 1f), Gareth Mannion (0-1); Karl Cosgrove (0-4, 1f), Diarmaid Carney (0-1), Oisín Brady (0-1).
Subs; Tiaran Reilly (2-0) for J Smith (inj, 33); Michael Muldoon for O Brady (41); Shane Duffy for D Carney (48); Darragh Dolan (1-0) for K Cosgrove (49); Gavin Brady (0-1) for O Kiernan (inj, 52); Danny Cusack for C Madden (59).
Cillian Rice; Craig Callan, Leonard Grey, Kain McEvoy; Ciaran McGlynn, Tom Jackson (0-2), James Gilkes; Pierce Hawkins, Joe Mee (0-1); Gerry Garland, Cathal Fleming (0-2, 2f), Ben McKenna (0-1); Fergal Malone (0-1), Adam Hanratty, Keelan O’Neill (0-1).
Subs; Cain Bromley for C Callan (23); Owen Lennon for K McEvoy (h/t); Conor Gillespie for A Hanratty (39); Shane Hickey (0-1) for G Garland (43); Liam Dawe for J Gilkes (51); Terry Reilly (0-1) for C McGlynn (B.C 56).