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SFC Qualifier: Cavan too strong for Carlow

All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers, Round 2A

Cavan 2-13 Carlow 0-12

By Kevin Carney at Kingspan Breffni Park, Cavan

Hosts Cavan bounced back – albeit in unconvincing style – from their humbling by Tyrone last time out to take their place in Monday’s draw for round three of the All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers.

Cavan played the final 21 minutes of the game without the dismissed Darragh McVeety but still managed to match their gutsy but limited opponents score-for-score for the remainder of the tie.

The Ulstermen led from gun to tape but despite dominating large tracts of the game never ever looked like putting the issue to bed before it had run its due course.

Ultimately the age-old cliché of ‘goals winning matches’ came close to being a truism with the blues’ success in bagging a goal either side of the interval pivotal in catapulting Carlow out of this year’s SFC.

Cavan opened in turbo-charged mode and quickly went 1-1 to no-score in front thanks, in the main, to a flicked goal from Eugene Keating after Cian Mackey’s shot dropped invitingly on the edge of the small square. Cavan flattered to deceive though in their attempts at consolidating their quick-fire opening foray and, instead, it was the sprightly visitors who impressed the most in the opening 20 minutes.

For all that, Carlow struggled to convert their hard-won possession into the hard coinage of scores, faced as they were by the twin vagaries of a contrary wind and the infamous Cavan blanket defensive set-up.

In perfect conditions, a pair of howitzer points rained in from full-back Daniel St. Ledger to aid Carlow’s cause, but Cavan’s executioner-in-chief Gearoid McKiernan countered with a brace and turned provider for Killian Clarke to ease the raging hot match favourites into a 1-6 to 0-5 cushioned interval lead.

Carlow were far too reliant on their free-takers for their own good and they weren’t helped by the black carding of their go-to man Darragh Foley in the 44th minute by which stage they were chasing a 0-7 to 1-8 deficit.

In contrast, Cavan carved out several half-chances to consolidate their first half major and they belatedly did so in the 51st minute when McVeety and Jack Brady combined to leave Mackey with a virtual tap-in.

Carlow were laboured in their efforts thereafter to cash in on McVeety’s dismissal (53) but they never got a sniff of a goal(s) which might have gotten them out of jail.

*Scorers for Cavan: *G McKiernan (0-5, 1f); E Keating (1-1); C Mackey (1-1); S Johnston (0-3, 3f); D McVeety (0-1); T Corr (0-1); T Hayes (0-1).

Scorers for Carlow: D St. Ledger (0-5,4f, ‘45); D Foley (0-2, 2f); E Ruth (0-1); D O’Brien (0-1); C Blake (0-1, 1f); J Murphy (0-1); A Kelly (0-1).

CAVAN: R Galligan; K Brady, R Dunne, P Faulkner; F Flanagan, C Moynagh, C Brady; T Corr, L Buchanan; D McVeety, G McKiernan, K Clarke; C Mackey, E Keating, S Johnston. *Subs: *M Reilly for L Buchanan (22); J Brady for K Brady (h-t);  G Smith for M Reilly (40); T Hayes for E Keating (B.C, 52); N Murray for C Brady (60).

CARLOW: R Molloy: B J Molloy, D St Ledger, K Nolan; G Kelly, J Murphy, B Kavanagh; E Ruth, S Gannon; A Kelly, D O’Brien, H Gahan; C Blake, D Foley, D Smithers. Subs: D Walshe for D Smithers (42); D Lunney for D Foley (B.C, 45); D Moran for D O’Brien (60); P O’Halloran for C Blake (66); B Cawley for K Nolan (69); C Bailey for E Ruth (74).

Ref: F Kelly (Longford)

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