Nervy Cavan turn the screw after fitness comes to fore
Cavan 1-17 London 1-8: Cavan manager Terry Hyland insisted there was no panic at half-time when his side were being held level by a plucky London outfit – and, he said, the experience of having played and won at HQ will stand to his troops next Sunday against Kerry.
"We probably got a wee bit nervy," said Hyland.
"In fairness, the lads haven't been up here before and it was one of those occasions where everyone expected us to win and that probably weighed a little bit on our shoulders.
"We made some uncharacteristic errors during the first half but we got through to half-time without slipping behind. We were level, we had a good frank discussion at half-time and said 'look lads, go out and sort this situation yourselves' and they did do that."
Cavan had looked much sharper early on with Martin Dunne knocking over four points to help his side into a 0-6 to 0-1 lead.
They could have been out of sight, too, with London goalkeeper Declan Traynor saving smartly from Cian Mackey and Jack Brady sending a daisy-cutter the wrong side of the post.
However, the Exiles upped the ante and with a lethargic Cavan sloppily coughing up possession, they were soon back in the contest.
Paul Geraghty rose highest to flick the ball to the Cavan net 20 minutes in and when Cathal McCallion pointed twice, London found themselves in front.
An important score from Tomás Corr allowed Cavan to go for their tea with the scores level and after a slow start to the second half, they finally cut loose.
Cavan's fitness was clearly superior and with David Givney coming into the game at midfield and win-back Ronan Flanagan's distribution excellent, they kicked on.
Eugene Keating spurned a gilt-edged goal chance after great work from Dunne but points from Martin Reilly, Givney and Feargal Flanagan gave them some breathing space and when sub Niall McDermott bundled the ball home after a nice move, it was then all over.
London scored just twice in the second half as Cavan booked their place in the last eight with nine points to spare.
"Our legs are younger than the London fellas and we felt if we got two or three points ahead that we could kick on and that's how it transpired, London were probably more tired after their Connacht final as well," stated Hyland, whose side will face Kerry for only the third time since the famous Polo Grounds final of 1947.
"We were delighted to get the game here, everybody said 'ah, Cavan should win it' and sometimes that brings its own expectations but hopefully the next day we'll be over that."
Scorers: Cavan: M Dunne 0-6 (4f), N McDermott 1-0, D Givney 0-3, E Keating (1f), T Corr, F Flanagan 0-2 each, M Reilly, C Mackey 0-1 each. London: P Geraghty 1-1, L Mulvey 0-3 (3f), C McCallion 0-2, C Doyle, C Magee 0-1 each.
CAVAN: A O'Mara; T Corr, R Dunne, K Clarke; J McEnroe, A Clarke, R Flanagan; D O'Reilly, D Givney; C Mackey, J Brady, F Flanagan; M Reilly, M Dunne, E Keating. Substitutes: D McVitty for J McEnroe (47), J Mc Loughlin for T Corr (58) N McDermott for J Brady (60), K Brady for F Flanagan (65).
London: D Traynor; P Butler, S Curran, D McGreevy; S Hannon, A Gaughan, C Og Greene; C Doyle, P Geraghty; S Mulligan, D Dunleavey, C McCallion; G Crowley, L Mulvey, C Magee.
Substitutes: D O'Neill for S Hannon (42), S Kelly for P C McCallion (42), C Daly for G Crowely (46), B Collins for P Butler (49), E O'Neill for C Doyle (58).
Referee: B Cassidy (Derry).