Laois stopper Killian Roche denies Paddy Lynch, but Lynch and Cavan had the last laugh at Breffni Park. Laszlo Geczo/INPHO
Eyes on the Prize

Cavan impress with nine-point win over Laois in Tailteann Cup opener

Goals from Paddy Lynch and Jonathan McCabe steered Mickey Graham’s side to an opening win.

Cavan 2-20

Laois 1-14

Kevin Egan reports from Kingspan Breffni

AFTER 20 MINUTES, Cavan trailed Laois by two points and it looked as if Mickey Graham’s men might still be feeling the effects of their bitterly disappointing Ulster championship defeat to Armagh.

Perhaps that was the amount of time it took to flush the toxins from their system, as for the remainder of the game the 2022 Tailteann Cup finalists were in cruise control mode, easily building a winning lead before coasting through the final quarter, safe in the knowledge that they were off the mark with a win.

Laois travelled north bearing plenty of scars of their own, having sustained a harrowing defeat on their home soil against Dublin on the back of a poor league campaign, but a strong showing in challenge matches against Wexford and Longford hinted at an improvement in their mood.

They were certainly tuned in early on and while Cavan moved the ball well and created chances of their own, a well-taken goal from Evan O’Carroll and some nice shooting from Mark Barry and Kieran Lillis helped to establish a 1-5 to 0-6 lead.

A contentious penalty decision after 26 minutes allowed Cavan to take control of the game as Paddy Lynch slotted home the opportunity, with Gearóid McKiernan and Conor Brady following up with nice points.

Evan O’Carroll’s point just before half-time from close range left just two between the sides, 1-10 to 1-8, but the next 20 minutes was one-way traffic as without ever hitting a really high tempo, Cavan rattled off seven points without reply.

They took complete control of the two half lines, with Gerard Smith and Tiernán Madden particularly impressive in the two wing forward positions, leaving Laois utterly starved of ball up front. Killian Roche did all he could in goal for the midlanders, popping up with two outstanding saves to deny Paddy Lynch and Oisín Brady, but Laois looked bereft of ideas of energy, before mounting a late surge with four points in row.

Even then however, their attempt at mitigating the damage was undone as Oisín Brady set up Jonathan McCabe for a late goal, ensuring further momentum for the home side in advance of their trip to London next weekend.

Scorers for Cavan: Paddy Lynch 1-3 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), Gearóid McKiernan 0-4 (0-3f), Gerard Smith 0-3, Jonathan McCabe 1-0, James Smith 0-2, Tiernán Madden 0-2, Ryan O’Neill 0-1, Oisín Kiernan 0-1, Conor Brady 0-1, Cian Madden 0-1, Raymond Galligan 0-1 (45), Ryan Donohoe 0-1.

Scorers for Laois: Evan O’Carroll 1-2 (0-1 45), Mark Barry 0-5 (0-3f), Kieran Lillis 0-2, Paul Kingston 0-2 (0-1f), Eoin Lowry 0-1m, Damon Larkin 0-1, Pádraig Kirwan 0-1.


1. Raymond Galligan (Lacken)

4. Niall Carolan (Cúchullains)
3. Pádraig Faulkner (Kingscourt)
2. Killian Clarke (Shercock)

5. Ciarán Brady (Arva)
6. Oisín Kiernan (Castlerahan)
7. Cian Madden (Gowna)

9. James Smith (Crosserlough)
8. Conor Brady (Gowna)

10. Gerard Smith (Lavey)
11. Gearóid McKiernan (Cavan Gaels)
12. Tiernán Madden (Gowna)

13. Ryan O’Neill (Kildallan)
14. Paddy Lynch (Crosserlough)
15. Oisín Brady (Killygarry)

Subs: Brandon Boylan (Crosserlough) for O’Neill (51), Conor Rehill (Crosserlough) for C Madden (59), Jonathan McCabe (Arva) for T Madden (59), Martin Reilly (Killygarry) for Lynch (66), Ryan Donohoe (Gowna) for McKiernan.


16. Killian Roche (Killeshin)

17. Séamus Lacey (Ballylinan)
3. Trevor Collins (Graiguecullen)
4. Robert Pigott (Portarlington)

7. Pádraig Kirwan (Emo)
6. Mark Timmons (Graiguecullen)
20. James Finn (Ballyfin)

12. Patrick O’Sullivan (Portarlington)
8. Kieran Lillis (Portlaoise)

15. Mark Barry (O’Dempsey’s)
13. Eoin Lowry (Killeshin)
9. Damon Larkin (Portlaoise)

21. Cathal Doyle (Ballyroan-Abbey)
14. Evan O’Carroll (Crettyard)
11. Paul Kingston (Arles-Killeen)

Subs: Seán Greene (Emo) for Lacey (27), Alex Mohan (Portarlington) for Collins (31-34, blood), Colm Murphy (Portarlington) for Doyle (38), Seán O’Flynn (Courtwood) for Kirwan (51), Kevin Swayne (Portlaoise) for Finn (53), Dylan Kavanagh (The Heath) for O’Sullivan (60).

Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow)

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