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McGeeney holds his hands up as Armagh are flattened by Cavan

Cavan 3-18 Armagh 0-10

By Paul Fitzpatrick

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney absolved his players of blame and said that he, personally, would have to "take it on the chin" following a 17-point humbling at the hands of Cavan at Breffni Park on Saturday.

While the Blues did turn in their best performance of Terry Hyland's four-year tenure, the Orchard men were dreadful, scoring the opening three points before totally collapsing.

Armagh played their best stuff early with points from Ciaron O'Hanlon, Stephen Sheridan and Micheál McKenna - but Cavan soon took command.

Man of the match Seanie Johnston, who finished with 1-5, bundled home a goal to level matters in the seventh minute and Cavan were never behind thereafter.

With Gearoid McKiernan running in direct lines through the centre with support off the shoulder, Cavan dismantled the Armagh rearguard time and again, with the high ball to David Givney also working a treat.

Eight unanswered points from Johnston, Michael Argue (two), Jason McLoughlin (two), McKiernan and Dara McVeety helped them into a comfortable lead.

The Blues were ahead by 1-11 to 0-5 at half-time and stepped on the gas in the second-half. By that stage, McGeeney had made a couple of changes and although Ethan Rafferty and Gavin McPartland would snipe a couple of points apiece, the lack of options in reserve was apparent.

What went wrong? McGeeney was in no doubt that the problem lies with him.

"It was poor. I don't think we are as bad as was shown. Cavan are moving very well, that's two games on the trot they've put up those scores, but I believe we have good footballers - I just mustn't be doing the right things with them," he said.

"They are good lads, good players, so I have to go back and see what I'm doing. I have to take it on the chin. It's not easy."

Cavan picked up where they left off in the third quarter and after Givney flicked home a second goal and McKiernan galloped through to side-foot a third, there were 18 points between them.

Corner-back Padraig Faulkner also got forward for a well-taken score, with Martin Reilly floating over another late on.

Armagh had no answer to the home side, whom they meet at the same venue in the championship on May 29, with only Rafferty - who came on, scored twice and was black-carded - showing anything like his best form.

For Armagh and McGeeney, though, a chance to put things right can't come quickly enough.

McGeeney added: "I'd like to consider myself a competitive person, we weren't even competitive there.

"We just fell asunder... I have to say, it's me that has to look at it, not them."

Cavan: R Galligan, P Faulkner (0-1), K Clarke, J McLoughlin (0-2), C Brady, C Moynagh, K Brady, T Corr, L Buchanan, D McVeety (0-1), G McKiernan (1-5, 3f), M Reilly (0-1), D Givney (1-1), M Argue (0-2), S Johnston (1-5, 2f)

Subs: N Murray for McVeety (12 mins, BC), R Dunne for Buchanan (48mins), P O'Connor for Johnston (53 mins), J Hayes for McLoughlin (60 mins), B Sankey for Faulkner (65 mins)

Armagh: M McNiece, A Mallon, C Vernon, S Connell, M Shields, S Heffron, S Sheridan (0-1), A Findon, S Campbell (0-3f), N Grimley, A Forker, T Kernan, C Watters, C O'Hanlon (0-1), M McKenna (0-1)

Subs: E Rafferty (0-2) for Watters (25 mins), A Murnin for Grimely (h/t), J McElroy for Rafferty (BC, 45 mins), N McConville for Forker (48 mins), G McPartland (0-2)for Kernan (58 mins), J Hall for O'Hanlon (65mins)

Ref: M Deegan (Laois)

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