Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Uladh

Ulster SFC: Cavan finish with a flourish

April 8th, 2024

Ulster Senior Football Championship

Cavan 3-12 Monaghan 1-12


The Ulster SFC kicked off with a bang for Cavan, who hit three second-half goals to see off neighbours Monaghan in Clones.

A goal from substitute Michael Hamill had given Monaghan a narrow lead during the final quarter, but late strikes by Gerard Smith and top scorer Paddy Lynch turned the game decisively in Cavan’s favour as they hit on the counter-attack to devastating effect, finishing with an unanswered 2-2.

Rory Beggan kicked three points on his return for Monaghan, but the game was marred by Darren Hughes being stretchered off early in the second half.

Conor McManus, Rory Beggan, David Garland and Karl O’Connell were all on target early on for Monaghan, but they couldn’t really put wind advantage to as much use as they needed in the opening half, with Paddy Lynch’s unerring free-taking keeping Cavan in touch.

Points from Beggan, McManus and Jack McCarron saw Monaghan finally get some momentum towards the half-hour mark, but Lynch’s fifth point of the half left just two between the teams at the break: 0-7 to 0-5.

Oisín Brady and Gerard Smith brought Cavan level after the restart, before an injury to Darren Hughes led to a lengthy delay. The next four points all came from frees – two by Lynch cancelling out one each by McManus and McCarron – while Seán Jones announced his introduction with a forward mark that kept Monaghan narrowly ahead.

Cavan took the lead for the first time when Pádraig Faulkner fired to the net, with Brían O’Connell blazing another goal chance over the bar and Oisín Brady sending a lob just wide of an unguarded net.

O’Connell and Conor McCarthy combined, however, to create a goal for Michael Hamill, before Joel Wilson became the third Monaghan sub to score. A point from play by Beggan doubled the hosts’ lead, but Lynch replied, before Gerard Smith raced through to fire past the Monaghan keeper.

As Monaghan chased the game late on, Lynch picked off 1-1 to take his tally to 1-9, the point coming from a long-range free and the goal into an empty net after Brendan Cawley had penalised Mícheál Bannigan for over-carrying.

Tyrone are next up for Cavan, while Monaghan turn their focus to the All-Ireland series.

Scorers for Cavan: Paddy Lynch 1-9 (7fs, 1 45), Gerard Smith 1-1, Pádraig Faulkner 1-0, Brían O’Connell 0-1, Oisín Brady 0-1.

Scorers for Monaghan: Michael Hamill 1-0, Rory Beggan 0-3 (1f, 1 ‘45), Conor McManus 0-3 (2fs), Jack McCarron 0-2 (1f), Seán Jones 0-1 (m) Joel Wilson 0-1 (m), David Garland 0-1, Karl O’Connell 0-1.

Cavan: Gary O’Rourke; Brían O’Connell, Killian Brady, Cian Reilly; Pádraig Faulkner (Joint-Capt.), Niall Carolan, Conor Brady; James Smith, Oisín Kiernan (Denn); Ciarán Brady (Joint-Capt.), Gerard Smith, Oisín Kiernan (Castlerahan); Oisín Brady, Paddy Lynch, Cian Madden.

Subs: Luke Fortune for J Smith (inj., 49), Tiarnan Madden for Oisín Kiernan (Denn) (44), Cormac O’Reilly for C Madden (64), Ryan Donohoe for O Brady (77), Conor Rehill for Oisín Kiernan (Castlerahan) (79).

Monaghan: Rory Beggan; Ryan Wylie, Killian Lavelle, Ryan O’Toole; Karl O’Connell, Kieran Duffy (Capt.), Kevin Loughran; Darren Hughes, Gary Mohan; Ciarán McNulty, Conor McCarthy, Jason Irwin; David Garland, Jack McCarron, Conor McManus.

Subs: Michael Hamill for Irwin (HT), Joel Wilson for Hughes (inj., 48), Seán Jones for Garland (52), Mícheál Bannigan for McCarron (64), Stephen Mooney for McNulty (77).

Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare).

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