FL2: brilliant Breffni swat Royals aside

February 18, 2018

Cillian O'Sullivan looks for a way past Enda Flanagan during the NFL Division 2 clash at Kingspan Breffni. Photo: Adrian Donohoe

Cavan produced some champagne football at Breffni Park to defeat neighbours Meath by five points, 2-14 to 1-12.

Victory sees the unbeaten Breffni County march to the top of the second-division table, with five points amassed from a possible six, while mediocre Meath who were ten points adrift after 43 minutes - slump down to fourth.

The winners delivered a superb opening-half display to lead by seven points at the break, 1-8 to 0-4, the goal coming from the boot of Conor Moynagh.

The outstanding Caoimhin O'Reilly stuck over the opening score for the hosts in the second minute but Eamon Wallace bought himself a yard of space to slot a superb levelling point a couple of minutes later. Butlersbridge clubman OReilly restored the Breffni Countys advantage with another sumptuous strike and it was a two-point game after midfielder Bryan Magee fired over a breeze-assisted free in the ninth minute.

Niall Clerkin posted the hosts fourth point and Clerkin made it five-one after eleven minutes as Mattie McGleenans men continued to dominate. In the 14th minute, Adrian Cole became the third member of the Cavan full-forward line to score from play and the visitors frustration was evident as both Bryan McMahon and Padraig McKeever picked up yellow cards.

The first Cavan goal arrived in the 26th minute, following an exchange between Dara McVeety and Graham Reilly: centre forward Moynagh netted at the town end to leave eight between them after the Breffni boys had pinballed the woodwork: 1-7 to 0-2.

The rattled Royals reeled off three wides in as many minutes before Clerkin nonchalantly extended the gap to nine. Wallaces second barely raised a Meath cheer on the stroke of half time and an injury-time free from McKeever ensured that the deficit was seven when the short whistle sounded.

Wallace and Magee traded the first two points after the resumption and half-time substitute Gearoid McKiernan quickly grabbed himself a score to nudge the gap back out to eight. Instantly, Graham Reilly pulled back an excellent point from an acute angle, 1-10 to 0-6.

Eight minutes into the second half, Kiernan won the ball in the middle of the pitch and picked out fellow sub Cian Mackey, who fed Ciaran Brady. The Cavan No.6 rolled his shot through Andrew Colgans legs to leave ten points between the teams.

Almost immediately, Meath roared forward to win a penalty. After what seemed like an eternity, as players from both teams got to know one another, substitute Donal Lenihan stepped forward to slot an excellent shot past Raymond Galligan: 2-10 to 1-6. Bryan Mentons point reduced the arrears to a more-manageable six

Colgan executed a magnificent diving save to deny McKiernan a third Cavan major after OReilly had slotted a free but opposing netminder Galligan stepped up to stroke over a 45 2-12 to 1-7 at the three-quarters stage.

Cillian OSullivan and substitute Dan ONeill pulled back a couple of points but Cavan captain Killian Clarke came forward to take his point on the hour seven between the teams. McKeever and Menton points left five in it with as many minutes left

McKiernans sublime left-footed point edged the Breffni men closer to the winning line and McKeever (free) replied on 67 minutes.

Those late scores were of little relevance, however, as the Breffni County were long since home and hosed.

Cavan - R Galligan (0-1'45); N Murray, P Faulkner, D Phillips; M Reilly, Ciaran Brady (1-0), E Flanagan; K Clarke (0-1), B Magee (0-2f); D McVeety (0-1), C Moynagh (1-0), O Kiernan; C O'Reilly (0-3, 1f), A Cole (0-1), N Clerkin (0-3). Subs: C Mackey for N Clerkin, G McKiernan (0-2) for A Cole, J McLoughlin for D Phillips, S Murray for E Flanagan, T Galligan for C O'Reilly, R Connolly for B Magee.

Meath - A Colgan; S Lavin, C McGill, D Keogan; B Conlon, B Power, S McEntee; B Menton (0-2), A Flanagan; J McEntee, P McKeever (0-3, 2f), G Reilly (0-2); E Wallace (0-2), C O'Sullivan (0-2), B McMahon. Subs: D Lenihan (1-0pen) for B McMahon, H Rooney for A Flanagan, S Tobin for J McEntee, D O'Neill (0-1) for B Conlon, T O'Reilly for G Reilly, C Halligan for H Rooney (BC).

Referee - C Brannigan.

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