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Missed injury time free sees Cavan progress at Westmeath's expense

John Heslin kept his side in touch all afternoon but could not find the target at the death.

Cavan's Rory Dunne and David Duffy of Westmeath.
Cavan's Rory Dunne and David Duffy of Westmeath.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Cavan 1-15

Westmeath 1-14

DOGGED CAVAN HELD on in testing circumstances at Kingspan Breffni Park to escape with a one-point win and a place in Round 2B of the All-Ireland senior football qualifiers.

Last season’s All-Ireland quarter-finalists looked to be in an untouchable position with 13 minutes remaining when they led by seven points. But a strong finale from Westmeath that included a John Gilligan goal reduced the Lake County’s arrears to a single point by full-time as extra-time loomed.

A missed free from John Heslin in injury-time would ultimately cost Westmeath dear though and consign them to yet another spirit sapping defeat. They suffered relegation from the Allianz League in boss Paul Bealin’s first year in charge and have now lost both of their Championship games, to Louth and Cavan.

Speaking after the match, Bealin insisted he would be staying on as Westmeath manager. He sees his job with the footballers as a three-year project and one poor season, he said, will not sway him from the task at hand.

The visitors overcame the loss of Denis Glennon with a hamstring injury to lead by one at half-time, 0-7 to 0-6. They capitalised on the stiff wind at the northern venue to score fine points from distance through Ger Egan and Callum McCormack.

Niall McDermott under pressure Cavan's Niall McDermott under pressure from John Gilligan, John Heslin and Kieran Gavin of Westmeath. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Cavan were back level immediately after the restart and then pulled ominously clear thanks to a well worked 43rd minute Niall McDermott goal when he palmed in from close range.

It was all Cavan now and they took advantage of the wind to open up a 1-14 to 0-10 lead with 57 minutes gone. But they couldn’t secure the comfortable win their fans expected and the game developed into an intriguing contest as Westmeath picked off score after score in the run in.

Kieran Martin, Paul Sharry and Heslin all hit crucial points while Gilligan netted from close range after a great Callum McCormack ball in. But Cavan, somehow, held on.

Scorers for Cavan: Niall McDermott (1-2, 0-2f), Michael Lyng and Jack Brady (1f) (0-3 each), Michael Argue (0-2), Gearoid McKiernan, Robert Maloney-Derham, David Givney, Joshua Hayes and Keating (0-1 each)Scorers for Westmeath: J Heslin (0-4, 3f), John Gilligan (1-0), Callum McCormack (0-3), Ger Egan, Paul Sharry (1f, 1 45) and Dessie Dolan (0-2 each), Kieran Martin (0-1).

CAVAN

1. Conor Gilsenan (Bailieborough Shamrocks)
2. Jason McLoughlin (Shannon Gaels)
21. Killian Brady (Mullahoran)
3. Rory Dunne (Redhills)
5. Joshua Hayes (Cootehill)
6. James McEnroe (Ramor United)
7. Robert Maloney-Derham (Cavan Gaels)
8. Damien O’Reilly (Belturbet)
9. Gearoid McKiernan (Mullaghoran)
10. Michael Argue (Bailieborough Shamrocks)
11. Michael Lyng (Cavan Gaels)
12. Niall McDermott (Ballinagh)
15. Martin Reilly (Killygarry)
14. David Givney (Ballymun Kickhams)
13. Jack Brady (Ramor United)

Subs
17. Eugene Keating (St Sylvester’s) for Givney (52)
19. Tomas Corr (Denn) for O’Reilly (60)
22. Cian Mackey (Castlerahan) for Lyng (63)
4. Alan Clarke (Kingscourt) for McDermott (72)
20. Mark McKeever (Gowna) for Brady (73, black card)

WESTMEATH

16. Stephen Gallagher (St Loman’s, Mullingar)
2. Damian Dolan (Caulry)
23. John Gilligan (Ballymore)
4. Kevin Maguire (Caulry)
7. James Dolan (Garrycastle)
3. Kieran Gavin (Mullingar Shamrocks)
6. Paul Sharry (St Loman’s, Mullingar, captain)
8. David Duffy (Shandonagh)
11. Ger Egan (Tyrrellspass)
12. Kieran Martin (Maryland)
14. John Heslin (St Loman’s, Mullingar)
24. Lorcan Smyth (Mullingar Shamrocks)
20. Aidan Burke (Tang)
10. Callum McCormack (Maryland)
15. Dessie Dolan (Garrycastle)

Subs
22. Alan Coffey (Tubberclair) for Burke (39)
5. Ronan Foley (Coralstown/Kinnegad) for Smyth (47)
18. Denis Corroon (Mullingar Shamrocks) for Duffy (59)
13. Denis Glennon (Tyrrellspass) for Gavin (61)

Referee: Padraig Hughes (Armagh).

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About the author:

Paul Keane

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