Cavan deservedly bagged a precious brace of Division 3 points in front of a big crowd in Mullingar with a three point win over Westmeath.
estmeath, now managed by former star player Dessie Dolan, had the aid of a useful wind in the first half, but they found scores very hard to come by despite going into a two-point lead by the 12th minute, courtesy of a converted free from John Heslin and a neat score from play by the returning Shane Dempsey.
Mickey Graham’s charges proceeded to kick the next four scores without reply via Oisín Brady and goalkeeper Raymond Galligan (both from frees), and Dara McVeety and Ryan O’Neill (both from play). Shortly before the latter point, Heslin bore down on the Cavan goalmouth in the 27th minute, but his low shot was deflected to safety by corner back Evan Finnegan. Ronan O’Toole and Martin Reilly traded late points, leaving Cavan ahead by 0-5 to 0-3 at the interval.
McVeery doubled his account some 70 seconds after play resumed. Sam McCartan was black-carded in the 39th minute to add to Westmeath’s woes, and they looked set for a heavy defeat when Cavan added points from Galligan (two great frees) and O’Neill (a mark).
However, great work by sub Luke Loughlin teed up Ronan Wallace for a slapped goal in the 56th minute. Another sub Lorcan Dolan chipped in with a brace of opportunist points to leave the home team trailing by just the bare minimum (0-9 to 1-5) with ten minutes remaining, but the Breffni men finished the stronger and were worthy winners.
Scorers – Cavan: R Galligan (0-3, 3fs), D McVeety, R O’Neill (1m), O Brady (2fs) 0-2 each, P Faulkner, M Reilly, Ciaran Brady (f) 0-1 each. Westmeath: R Wallace 1-0, J Heslin (2fs), L Dolan 0-2 each, S Dempsey, R O’Toole 0-1 each.
Cavan: R Galligan; E Finnegan, P Faulkner, N Carolan; Ciaran Brady, D McVeety, T Madden; Conor Brady, K Clarke; O Kiernan, Cian Madden, J McLoughlin; M Reilly, R O’Neill, O Brady. Subs: E Maguire for Conor Brady (inj, 33), P Lynch for Reilly (55), J McCabe for Cian Madden (64), B Boylan for O’Neill (69), Conor Madden for O Brady (70).
Westmeath: J Daly; D Scahill, K Maguire, J Gonoud; J Dolan, R Wallace, N Harte; C McCormack, A McGivney; S McCartan, R O’Toole, J Heslin; J Lynam, R Forde, S Dempsey. Subs: D Giles for Gonoud (inj, 8), L Loughlin for Forde (42), R Connellan for McGivney (43), L Dolan for Dempsey (54), D Lynch for Lynam (61).
Ref: S Mulhare (Laois).