NFL Division Three round-up: Cavan, Fermanagh and Down all looking upwards

Ulster sides continue their push for promotion while Tipperary and Longford recorded their first points of the campaign

National Football League, Division Three: Cavan 0-21 Offaly 0-14

A very impressive Cavan sauntered to an easy win over Offaly in Tullamore on Sunday afternoon and they are now odds-on for promotion.

With four wins out of four, Cavan are playing with real confidence and they were way too good for a hard working but limited Offaly side here. It was Offaly’s second consecutive defeat and has them glancing nervously at the foot of the table.

Cavan played some outstanding football, though Offaly gave as good as they got for the opening 25 minutes. The sides were tied on three occasions in the first six minutes and they were level at 0-7 each after 25 minutes. Four unanswered points gave Cavan a 0-11 to 0-7 half time lead and after playing against the wind, they were in a strong position.


They added three quick points in the second half for a 0-14 to 0-7 lead and could have killed the game off with a goal. It didn’t matter, however, as they were never in danger from here on.

Offaly did rally briefly after Jonathan McCabe of Cavan got a black card but the closest they could get was five points, 0-17 to 0-12 after 58 minutes. Cavan adopted a “what we have we hold” attitude late on but still attacked well to get over the 20-point mark.

CAVAN: R Galligan (0-1, f); E Finnegan, P Faulkner, N Carolan; C Brady, D McVeety, T Madden; D Brady (0-1), K Clarke; G Smith (0-1), Cian Madden (0-1), J McCabe (0-2); P Lynch (0-10, 7f), R O’Neill (0-2), B Boylan (0-2). Subs: J McLoughlin for Finnegan (53m), S Smith for McCabe (59m), Conor Madden (0-1) for Boylan (60m), J Smith for Brady (60m), C Rahill for Madden (64m).

OFFALY: I Duffy; C Donnelly, D Hogan (0-1), D Dempsey; R Egan, P Cunningham (0-1, f), L Pearson; J McEvoy, (0-1) C McNamee; J Maher (0-1), R McNamee (0-1, f), C Donohue; C Farrell, A Sullivan (0-2, 1f and 1m), D Hyland (0-6, 4f). Subs: B Allen (0-1) for Maher (HT), L Egan for Ruari McNamee (45m), J O’Brien for Hogan (50m), J Bryant for Farrell (56m), J Evans for Donohue (66m).

Referee: J Gilmartin (Sligo).


Longford 0-14 Tipperary 1-11

Oran Kenny salvaged a draw for Longford in their bottom of the table clash in Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday.

The substitute fired over a point deep in stoppage time as Longford staged a remarkable comeback; nearing the end of normal time Longford were behind by five points.

Tipp can feel aggrieved; Kevin Fahey appeared to be fouled but no free was awarded, Longford went up the field and closed the gap to one.

David Power’s side kicked only one point from play in the opening half; Paudie Feehan with a fine score. Longford played good football in that half with Dessie Reynolds, Robbie Smyth and Joseph Hagan among the scores as they went in at the break ahead by four points – 0-9 to 0-5.

Whatever Power said to his side at half-time had the desired effect. In the 38th Teddy Doyle intercepted a pass to Peter Foy, he raced through and shot to the net. Points from Emmet Maloney and Donough Leahy gave Tipp a two-point lead in the 41st minute.

Andrew Farell put in a fantastic tackle in the 47th minute to deny Kevin Fahey who looked like he had a goal on his mind. Reynolds hit his effort off the post in the 48th minute while Sean O’Connor’s shot was cleared off the line but advantage had been played, and Jack Kennedy kicked over the resulting free.

Things went from bad to worse for Longford when Darren Gallagher received a second yellow in the 58th minute. A superb point from Feehan minutes later extended Tipp’s lead to four. It was five in the 66th minute before David McGivney registered Longford’s first point of the second half when he pointed a free in the 68th minute.

Tipp were reduced to 14 men in the 70th minute when substitute Conor Cadell was shown a second yellow card. With six minutes of stoppage time there was time for a Longford fightback. McGivney (free), Dylan Farrell, Rian Brady (2) and Oran Kenny were all on target as they rescued a point for Longford.

Longford: P Collum; P Fox, A Farrell, B O’Farrell; I O’Sullivan, P Foy, R Moffett; M Quinn, D Gallagher; J Hagan (0-2), D Reynolds (0-2), D Mimnagh (0-1); L Connerton, D McGivney (0-2,f), R Smyth (0-3, 2f). Subs: P Lynn for Foy and R Brady (0-2) for Connerton (44mins), PJ Masterson for Lynn (54mins), O Kenny (0-1) for Smyth (60mins), D Farrell (0-1) for Mimnagh (62mins).

Tipperary: M O’Reilly; S O’Connell, J Feehan, W Eviston; E Moloney (0-1), K Fahey, C O’Shaughnessy; P Feehan (0-2), J Kennedy(0-7, 6f, 1 45); P Maher, C Kennedy, T Doyle (1-0); M O’Shea, D Leahy (0-1), S O’Connor. Subs: L McGrath for Maher (28mins), M Russell for Leahy (50mins), C Cadell for McGrath (60mins), D Carew for Eviston (66mins), M Kehoe for Doyle (70+3mins).

Referee: J Ryan (Cork).


Antrim 3-9 Fermanagh 2-13

It was another late show for Fermanagh as an injury-time burst of 1-2 saw them break Antrim hearts at Corrigan Park.

Trailing by eight midway through the second period and then by four as the game ticked into added time, it seemed the task was just too great, but they again displayed the resilience to pull it out of the fire.

In a fairly tight opening, the sides were locked at five points apiece heading into the break, but it was the hosts who hit 1-2 just before half-time. Odhran Eastwood’s goal in the second minute of stoppage time gave Antrim a 1-7 to 0-5 lead, and deservedly so.

Fermanagh rattled off the first three points of the second half before Antrim scored two more goals. The first came after 46 minutes when the impressive Marc Jordan set up Joseph Finnegan, then three minutes later Finnegan turned provider for team captain Peter Healy to lash home and put the Saffrons 3-7 to 0-8 ahead.

Seán Quigley almost hit back immediately but was denied by the post, but the goal Fermanagh needed arrived shortly afterwards as a loose ball was turned over with Ultan Kelm bursting through and sending an unstoppable shot into the back of the net.

The Antrim goalkeeper would then make a stunning double-save from Kelm and Quigley as it looked to be Antrim’s day, yet despite trailing by four in stoppage time, Garvan Jones pulled one back from a free and then in the third minute of added time, Quigley fisted in a dropping free to level the game.

Conor McGee would then fist over the winner when capitalising on a mistake and so Fermanagh celebrated another last-gap win as Antrim were left reeling from another one that got away.

ANTRIM: M Byrne (0-1, 45); E McCabe, O Lenehan, J McAuley; P Healy (1-0), J Finnegan (1-0), M Jordan (0-1); K Small, C Stewart (0-2); P Finnegan, R McCann (Creggan) (0-1), C McLarnon (0-1, mark); P Shivers (0-2, one free), R McCann (Agahgallon) (0-1 mark), O Eastwood (1-0). Subs: D McEnhill for O Eastwood and C Hynds for K Small (both 58 mins), P McCormick for M Jordan (67), C Duffin for C McLarnon (70+2).

FERMANAGH: S McNally; L Flanagan, L Cullen (0-1), C McManus; R McCaffrey, J Cassidy, S McGullion (0-1); R Jones, B Horan; J Largo-Ennis, R Lyons (0-1, free), U Kelm (1-2); C McShea, D McGurn, A Breen (0-3). Subs: S Quigley (1-0) for D McGurn (h-t), C McGee (0-1) for C McShea (43 mins), G Jones (0-3, one free) for R Lyons (46), C Corrigan (0-1) for A Breen and E McManus for R McCaffrey (both 58), F O’Brien for C McManus (64).

Referee: Kieran Eannetta (Tyrone).


Down 1-10 Westmeath 0-11

Down were staring another defeat in the face until Odhrán Murdoch’s penalty inspired the hosts to victory over Westmeath in Páirc Esler.

The successful spot kick culminated in a nine-point turnaround in the thrilling finish in Newry that realigned Down’s promotion hopes while denting Westmeath’s at the same time.

Seven points behind shortly after the restart, it was looking ominous for Conor Laverty’s side.

John Heslin just landed his fifth score of the game as the hosts trailed 0-10 to 0-3, that was Dessie Dolan’s side’s seventh point in a row and they looked set for a crucial away victory.

Instead Down got to work, and with three Kilcoo substitutes – brothers Ryan and Jerome Johnston and Anthony Morgan – they reverted back to type.

Swapping away the long ball tactic of the first half they went at the heart of the Westmeath defence with fervour.

Liam Kerr cut through for the penalty, Pat Havern quickly followed up with two frees won in the same fashion, and another Kilcoo man Ceilum Doherty picked off a brace of scores to put Down ahead in the 72nd minute.

Heslin had a chance to silence the home crowd with a free at the finish but was wide of the mark.

DOWN: C Smyth; R Magill, R McEvoy, P Laverty; N McParland, C Doherty (0-2), A Doherty; P Branagan, O Murdock (1-0, pen); S Millar, L Kerr, G Collins; E Brown (0-1), P Havern (0-3, three frees), A Gilmore (0-4, one free). Subs: R Johnston for McParland (h-t); A Morgan for Millar (37); J Johnston for Brown (40 mins); R Mason for Collins (45); C Francis for A Doherty (60).

WESTMEATH: J Daly; D Scahill, K Maguire, N Harte; J Dolan, R Wallace, S McCartan (0-1); S Duncan, R Connellan; D Lynch (0-1), R O’Toole, C McCormack (0-1); S Baker (0-2), J Heslin (0-6, four frees), L Loughlin. Subs: K Martin for McCormack (60 mins); D Giles for Harte (62); S Smith for Baker (66); C Dillon for Lynch (69); A McCormack for Connellan (73).

Referee: D Gough (Meath).