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Roscommon lift Division 2 title with win over Cavan in eight-goal thriller

Kevin McStay’s side have four points to spare over Cavan in Croke Park.

Roscommon 4-16

Cavan 4-12

Kevin O’Brien reports from Croke Park

ROSCOMMON ARE HEADING up to the top flight as Division 2 champions after they saw off Cavan by four points in a high-scoring final at Croke Park.

Conor Devaney accepts the trophy from John Horan Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

It’s Roscommon’s second Division 2 title since 2015 and this one was secured on the back of a wonderful display of attacking football in an extremely open game.

The sides shared eight goals between them in the most bizarre of games where neither defence will enjoy watching the tape back.

Roscommon continued their dominant form against Cavan and banished bad memories from their previous trip to the venue.

In their last game at Croke Park, the Rossies conceded 4-19 in their semi-final replay hammering by Mayo, and they shipped four goals once again. The difference this time was Roscommon’s forwards were in irresistible form, with Conor Devaney picking up man-of-the-match after a haul of 0-3 from wing-forward.

Niall Kilroy, David Murray found the net for Kevin McStay’s side, while Cathal Cregg bagged 2-1 off the bench.

Cavan lined out with seven defenders against the breeze and opted to run the ball from deep in the first-half.

Roscommon were more conventional, employing their usual system of centre-forward Niall Kilroy dropping back as a sweeper after they conceded the second goal.

Cavan’s three first-half goals arrived when their forwards got possession and ran at goal. Bradley and Reilly (penalty) found the net inside the opening nine minutes, but Roscommon rallied with eight unanswered scores to move 0-10 to 2-1 ahead after 25 minutes.

Brian Stack with Gearoid McKiernan Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Then McVeety’s goal arrived, coming after Cian Mackey rose above Conor Daly to palm a short kick-out into his teammate’s path.

Cavan called for Seanie Johnston as one of two half-time changes and he clipped over a free shortly after his arrival. Playing against the wind in the second period, Roscommon had to probe more as opposed to their shoot on sight policy in the first-half. And they found plenty of openings in the Cavan rearguard.

Niall Kilroy fisted into the net after a Devaney run and ball across in the 44th minute, and 90 seconds later corner-back David Murray popped up to finish a move that began with a wonderful Donie Smith crossfield ball.

All-Star nominee Enda Smith arrived off the bench to send Roscommon 2-14 to 3-5 in front, but Cavan responded in kind. McVeety sent a curling effort between the posts and defender Enda Flanagan hit the net after he ghosted into the area.

Johnston brought Cavan level with a fine score from the flank but substitute Cathal Cregg pounced for Roscommon’s third shortly after to push them ahead 3-14 to 4-9.

Cregg popped up for the eighth goal of the game to send Roscommon five ahead and while Johnston and Raymond Galligan sent over placed balls, Cavan couldn’t find another goal to force the issue.

Scorers for Roscommon: Cathal Cregg 2-1, Diarmuid Murtagh 0-4 (0-2f), Conor Devaney and Donie Smith 0-3 each, Niall Kilroy 1-1, David Murray 1-0, Niall McInerney, Enda Smith, Ian Kilbride and Ciarain Murtagh (0-1f) 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cavan: Dara McVeety 1-3, Enda Flanagan, Conor Bradley, and Martin Reilly (1-0pen) 1-0 each, Sean Johnston 0-4 (0-2f), Padraig Faulkner, Ciaran Brady, Caoimhin O’Reilly (0-f), Gearoid McKiernan (0-1f), and Raymond Galligan (0-1 45) 0-1 each.

Cavan

1. Raymond Galligan (Lacken)

9. Killian Clarke (Shercock)
3. Padraig Faulkner (Kingscourt)
2. Jason McLoughlin (Shannon Gaels)

4. Enda Flanagan (Castlerahan)

5. Martin Reilly (Killygarry)
6. Ciaran Brady (Arvagh)
7. Oisin Kiernan (Castlerahan)

8. Gearoid McKiernan (Swanlinbar)
11. Bryan Magee (Cuchulainns)

10. Dara McVeety (Crosserlough)
15. Conor Bradley (Ramor United)
12. Cian Mackey (Castlerahan)

13. Caoimhin O’Reilly (Butlersbridge)
14. Adrian Cole (Ramor United)

Subs

 

18. Niall Murray (Cavan Gaels) for Magee (41)
22. Niall Clerkin (Searcog) for McLoughlin (ht)
23. Seanie Johnston (Cavan Gaels) for O’Reilly (ht)
19. Stephen Murray (Cavan Gaels) for Flanagan (51)
20. Conor Madden (Loch Gamhna) for Bradley (52)
17. Conor Moynagh (Droim Dhuin Eire Og) for McVeety (62)

Roscommon

1. James Featherston (Roscommon Gaels)

4. Fergal Lennon (Clann na nGael)
3. Peter Domican (St Brigid’s)
2. David Murray (Padraig Pearses)

5. Conor Daly (Padraig Pearses)
6. Ultan Harney (Clann na nGael)
7. Brian Stack (St Brigid’s)

8. Tadhg O Rourke (Tulsk)
9. Cathal Compton (Strokestown)

10. Ciaráin Murtagh (St Faithleach’s)
11. Niall Kilroy (Fuerty)
12. Conor Devaney (Kilbride) – captain

13. Donie Smith (Boyle)
14. Ciaran Lennon (Clann na nGael)
15. Diarmuid Murtagh (St Faithleach’s)

Subs

23. Niall McInerney (St Brigid’s) for Daly (ht)
18. Enda Smith (Boyle) for O’Rourke (47)
17. Cathal Cregg (Western Gaels) for Ciaran Lennon (65)
8. O’Rourke for Compton (54)
22. Niall Daly (Padraig Pearses) for Stack (60)
20. Ian Kilbride (St Brigid’s) for Fergal Lennon (67)

Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)

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Kevin O'Brien

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