Allianz FL D2: Cavan impress against Laois
Allianz Football League Division 2
CAVAN 3-10 LAOIS 1-6
By Rory Delaney at MW Hire O'Moore Park
Cavan made it back-to-back wins in Allianz NFL Division 2 as goals either side of half-time helped them get the better of Laois at a windswept MW Hire O’Moore Park on Sunday.
The initial meeting between the teams had fallen victim to Storm Ciara, and this refixture got underway as Storm Dennis displayed his considerable might. The opening ten minutes or so were dominated by a howling wind and driving rain, which made life as difficult as it could be for both teams.
Cavan had the benefit of the elements in the first half, and Oisin Pierson had them on the scoreboard within seconds of the throw in. Laois had the unenviable task of trying to pick off points playing into the gale, and they eventually did in the seventh minute after a well-worked move off a 45, John O’Loughlin the man to provide the finishing touch.
Pierson then nudged Cavan back in front before Bryan Magee curled over a free, with Evan O’Carroll replying in kind for Laois. Cavan were getting more shots at goal during this period but even with the wind it was difficult to keep the ball on target.
Gerard Smith restored their two point lead in the 14th minute as the conditions began to ease, but Laois took an unlikely lead soon after. A scramble in the Cavan goalmouth saw Laois players trying to prod the ball over the line, with Mark Barry’s effort hitting the butt of the post before falling kindly for Eoin Lowry, who swept home.
A mistake on the Cavan kickout which followed allowed Mark Barry to curl over a point, and after 23 minutes Laois lead 1-3 to 0-4.
They would not score again for the remainder of the half however, as Cavan slowly took back control. Magee (free) and Pierson levelled the scores before two excellent points from Gerard Smith pushed them back into the lead.
With the first half almost over there was one final flourish from Cavan, as Evan Doughty’s left-footed shot from the left of the penalty area looped over Niall Corbet, struck the upright and nestled into the back of the net. That score saw Cavan lead 1-8 to 1-3 at the interval.
Having ended the first half strongly Cavan kept up the momentum on the restart, with Stephen Murray, only introduced as substitute at half-time rounding off a move for their second goal within seconds of the restart.
Bryan Magee followed it up with a point from a mark and Cavan were in cruise control now, the only Laois response coming from an Evan O’Carroll free.
With the wind occasionally dying down but never going away, conditions remained difficult and scores, as result, were few and far between. Laois tried to force their way back into the game but they knew they luck was out when Gary Walsh’s penalty was superbly saved by Raymond Galligan.
With their defence well on top, it was plain sailing for Cavan from there. They even managed to finish with a flourish when Stephen Murray got his second goal, rifling a shot into the top corner with nearly the last kick of the game.
Next up for them is a trip to Fermanagh, while Laois head to Clare.
Scorers for Cavan: Stephen Murray 2-0, Evan Doughty 1-0, Gerard Smith, Oisin Pierson, Bryan Magee (2f, 1m) 0-3 each, Raymond Galligan 0-1 (1f)
Scorers for Laois: Evan O’Carroll 0-3 (0-2f, 0-1 45), Eoin Lowry 1-0, John O’Loughlin 0-2, Mark Barry 0-1f
CAVAN: Raymond Galligan; Martin Reilly, Padraig Faulkner, Killian Brady; Gerard Smith, Ciaran Brady, Oisin Kernan; Chris Conroy, Thomas Galligan; Luke Fortune, Bryan Magee, Evan Doughty; Oisin Pierson, Gearoid McKiernan, James Smith. Subs: Stephen Murray for Fortune (half time), Conor Madden for Conroy (52), Liam Buchanan for J Smith (69), Paul Gilcreest for Doughty (72), Stephen Smith for Magee (73)
LAOIS: Niall Corbet; Brian Byrne, Mark Timmons, Gearoid Hanrahan; Paddy O’Sullivan, Robbie Pigott, Sean O’Flynn; Kieran Lillis, John O’Loughlin; Sean Byrne, Mark Barry, Eoin Lowry; Michael Keogh, Colm Murphy, Evan O’Carroll. Subs: Damien O’Connor for Keogh (half time), Ross Munnelly for Murphy (50), Gary Walsh for O’Flynn (60), Diarmuid Whelan for O’Carroll (65)
Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh)