at Kingspan Breffni
A dominant second-half performance saw Cavan hold off a highly-rated Monaghan side in this entertaining Ulster U20 Championship clash at Kingspan Breffni.
A haul of 0-9 from Patrick Lynch, who is still eligible for this grade next year, was crucial but Cavan had strong performers all over the pitch and the Blues, who reached the All-Ireland semi-final at minor (U18) level two years ago, were fully deserving winners on the day, with a late goal from corner-forward Tiarnan Reilly crowning an impressive performance.
At half-time, the home side led by a point but Monaghan boss Seamus McEnaney will have been the happier of the two managers.
His side had squandered an early two-point advantage, conceding six points in succession to fall 0-8 to 0-3 behind against a Cavan side who had seen star midfielder James Smith, a senior panellist, limp off after 12 minutes.
Cavan’s best score in this period came from defender Oisin Brady, with Lynch landing two from long distance which bounced and went over the bar.
The home side were in charge but the game turned in first-half injury time. A brilliant catch and run from midfielder Dean Connolly started a move which involved impressive full-forward Andrew Woods and saw Sean Jones crash to the net.
From the resulting kick-out, Woods hooked over a good score and suddenly it was a one-point game at the interval, with the Farney having played against the wind.
Cavan started the second half with a free from the excellent Patrick Lynch but Monaghan quickly hit the front when they put together a sweeping move which was expertly finished to the net by Aaron Mohan.
Cavan were under pressure but corner-forward Cormac O’Reilly, son of former Breffni great Damien, came up with a crucial equaliser to tie things entering the final quarter and John Brady’s team dominated thereafter.
Two frees from Lynch either side of an inspirational score from Cian Madden opened a three-point gap and in the 60th minute came the insurance score. An inch-perfect pass over the top from Philip Rogers – who, along with Cormac Donoghue and Shane Duffy impressed off the bench for the hosts – found corner-forward Reilly who cut in and found the net.
Cavan: G O’Rourke, J Cooke, P Meade, D Cusack, O Brady (0-1), C Timoney, B Smith, R Patterson, J Smith,P Nulty, C Madden (0-1), L Molloy, C O’Reilly (0-1), P Lynch (0-9, 7F), T Reilly (1-1)
Subs: P Rogers for J Smith (13 mins), C Donohoe for Molloy (ht), S Duffy for B Smith (ht), K Cosgrove for Cooke (45)
Monaghan: R McNulty, J Walsh, R O’Toole, K McMenamin, R Mohan (0-1), B Óg Duffy, S Kindlon, D Connolly (0-1), L Óg Murray, J Gormley, R McAllister, O Gleeson, A Mohan (1-0), A Woods (0-2, 1f), S Jones (1-0)
Subs: D Hanley for Gleeson (35 mins), M Mooney for R Mohan (62), E Walsh for Jones (58)
Ref: K Faloon (Armagh)
See this week's print issue for full report and reaction.