Monaghan 2-14 Cavan 2-07
Monaghan had their second senior football win on the trot with a convincing victory over a Cavan side that could only score in spurts.
In fact Monaghan kept the Breffni boys off the board for 20 minutes in the first half and for a full 15 in the second. With a defense that was battling throughout, and players that were constantly showing for the pass, Monaghan showed that they will be a tough assignment for all of their senior rivals.
Cavan had an opportunity for a goal in the second minute to reply to a Paul McArdle opening score for the winners. But Michael O’Reilly shot wide when he soloed in on goal with the net at his mercy. Following a James Connolly free, Cavan did hit the mark with a Richie Morgan point six minutes in. It was to be their last score until they had the last four points of the half as the Monaghan defense got on top for an extended period.
Liam Deane with two and McArdle also with two led a balanced attack that went in at the break ahead 0-8 to 0-5 as the side kicked five from play and moved the ball very effectively.
Gary White was having a major influence on affairs, and his strong running was pivotal in the center. The early threat of McArdle upfront was negated to a point when Cavan moved Ronan McGinley to his shoulder.
Playing against the wind, the four-point response from Cavan before the break -- Harry Silke, Michael Ireland, Ireland again and Fergal Ellis scored -- promised a lot, but would it arrive?
Two of the first three scores in the second half were Cavan goals as they moved into a 2-5 to 0-9 lead. Ireland hit the first soccer style (why not, with Netherlands playing Mexico in the Gaelic Park bar at the time) while Ellis hit the second, a brilliant finish at the end of a move that included Sheridan and Morgan.
Amazingly, and alarmingly for the Cavan management, it was their last score for a quarter hour, and the only time they led in the game. Ross McKenna had an excellent Monaghan goal when JC set him up before Cavan lost Michael Hallassy to a black card. It was to prove costly.
Connolly, McKenna and Connolly again after a nice run pushed the lead to four before Eugene McPhilips finished a three player move with the side’s second goal.
With six minutes left on the clock, Cavan finally hit the mark again when Connor Harrison drove over, but they could not break through for the goal they so badly needed due to excellent play at the back from Sean Kelly, Alan Hearty and Paul Lamb. Indeed Hearty tacked on a point from a fifty to punctuate the victory.
Monaghan: 1 Alan Hearty (0-1), 2 Paul Lamb, 3 Sean Kelly, 4 Mike O’Regan, 5 Paul Farhan, 6 Emmitt Caulfield, 7 Shane Bogue, 8 Kevin Smith, 9 Gary White, 10 Caoimhghin O’Callaghan, 11 Ross McKenna (1-3), 12 Liam Deane (0-3), 13 Kevin Connolly (0-1), 14 Paul McArdle (0-3), 15 James Connolly (0-3). Subs: Shane McKenna, Eugene McPhilips (1-0).
Cavan: 1 Gavin Joyce, 2 Ronan McGinley, 3 Ciaran Shields, 4 Shane Hogan, 5 Fergal Ellis (1-1), 6 Michael Hallassy, 7 Tom Warburton, 8 John Comerford, 9 Conor Sheridan, 10 Richie Morgan (0-1), 11 Michael O’Reilly, 12 Sean Dalton, 13 Harry Silke (0-1), 14 Michael Ireland (1-2), 15 Connoire Harrison (0-2). Sub: Michael Sloan, Conor Hogan.
Referee: Sean Jones.
Man of the match: Ross McKenna (Monaghan).