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Connacht champions have the final say as Cavan fall short

Roscommon 4-16 Cavan 4-12

By Paul Fitzpatrick

Cavan's dreadful record against Roscommon continued as they recovered from a six-point deficit to run out deserving winners in this Division 2 final.

A great goal from newcomer Conor Bradley and a Martin Reilly penalty helped Cavan into a 2-1 to 0-1 lead after eight minutes but eight unanswered points through man of the match Conor Devaney, two from the razor sharp Donie Smith, Diarmuid Murtagh (three, two frees), a Ciaran Murtagh free and another for captain Devaney saw the Rossies take charge.

Cavan ended an 18-minute scoreless spell with their third goal when veteran Cian Mackey forced a turnover and the excellent Dara McVeety side-footed home.

Again, though, Roscommon's response was excellent; Donie Smith threaded a right-footed point through the eye of a needle and added another from long range to make it 3-1 to 0-11. Tadhg O'Rourke and Niall Kilroy added further points before full-back Padraig Faulkner came up with one at the other end as Kevin McStay's charges carried a 0-12 to 3-2 lead into half-time.

With a strong wind at their backs, Cavan had reasons to be cheerful at this juncture, especially when go-to man McVeety curled in the opener 90 seconds after the restart. However, the concession of four second half goals would prove their undoing.

For all their chances, the Breffni men were guilty of sloppy play in the final third. After Gearoid McKiernan was blocked down, Roscommon broke and impressive sub Enda Smith clipped over their next but there was another turn in what was becoming an old school, free-wheeling clash.

First, McVeety curled in superbly and then, when Adrian Cole broke the ball down, Enda Flanagan sent a soccer-style half-volley to the roof of James Featherston's net.

Late on, Johnston cut the gap to two again but the Connacht side were ruthless up front and when Enda Smith played McInerney in brilliantly and Galligan's save fell to Devaney, the captain made no mistake in bagging their fourth goal.

Galligan and Ian Kilbride exchanged points and Johnston added another but Cregg had the final say as the Connacht champions eased home.

Cavan: R Galligan (0-1, 45), J McLoughlin, P Faulkner, E Flanagan (1-0), M Reilly (1-0, pen), C Brady (0-1), O Kiernan, G McKiernan (0-2f), K Clarke, D McVeety (1-3), B Magee, C Mackey, C O'Reilly (0-1f), A Cole, C Bradley (1-0). Subs: N Murray for Magee (29 mins), N Clerkin for McLoughlin, S Johnston (0-4, 2f) for O'Reilly (both h/t), C Madden for Bradley, S Murray for Flanagan (both 51), C Moynagh for McVeety (63)

Roscommon: J Featherston, D Murray (1-0), P Domican, F Lennon, C Daly, U Harney, B Stack, T O'Rourke, C Compton, C Murtagh (0-1f), N Kilroy (1-1), C Devaney (1-3), D Smith (0-4), C Lennon, D Murtagh (0-4, 2f). Subs: N McInerney (0-1) for Daly (h/t), E Smith (0-1) for O'Rourke (47), C Cregg (1-1) for C Lennon (51), O'Rourke for Compton (54, BC), N Daly for Stack (61), I Kilbride (0-1) for F Lennon (67).

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