Cavan 2-14 Down 1-10
Table-toppers Cavan had the stronger teeth and, more importantly, the sharper claws as they tore Down apart in the second half of their Division 3 clash on Sunday.
In what was a fractious affair, the hosts sprinted clear of their fellow promotion-chasing opponents in the second half after the teams were level at the interval.
Down flattered to deceive in exploding from the starting blocks with Liam Kerr’s incisive pass putting late call-up Micheal Rooney in for a shock goal.
The Mournemen continued to snap at Cavan’s ankles on the counter-attack but Cavan goalkeeper Raymond Galligan smartly blocked Kerr’s goal effort for a fruitless ‘45.
Cavan easily trumped their opponents in the possession stakes but Down’s packed defence and the hosts’ flowery football limited Cavan’s score-taking chances.
The hosts’ failed to score from play in the opening half-hour but Cian Madden turned that statistic on its head by arrowing the ball over the black spot approaching the 32nd minute.
Madden’s mighty effort levelled (0-5 to 1-2) matters for only the second time in the game and left it all to play for on the restart.
Meaty exchanges between the back room teams as the teams left the field at half-time added fireworks to a game that always crackled.
Cavan appeared to have the more intense fire in their bellies on the resumption and a string of points – including a gem from McVeety – had the Breffni boys cruising.
Things just got better and better for them and two minutes after his introduction, talisman Gearóid McKiernan’s first touch of the ball saw him call a fabulous mark and, in a jiffy, Cavan were 0-11 to 1-5 in front.
Though lacking power and punch up front, Down hung in there and with 15 minutes left trailed by just two points but Paddy Lynch’s major in added-on time proved to be the proverbial nail in the visitor’s coffin.
CAVAN: R Galligan (0-1 free); J McLaughlin, P Faulkner, N Carolan; C Brady, D McVeety (0-2, one free), T Madden; D Brady, K Clarke; G Smith, Cian Madden (0-2), J McCabe; P Lynch (2-5, four frees), R O’Neill, B Boylan (0-1).
Subs: J Smith (0-1) for D Brady (h-t); G McKiernan (0-2, one mark) for R O’Neill (47 mins); S Smith for J McCabe (55 mins); Conor Madden for B Boylan (64 mins); C Reilly for D McVeety (67 mins).
DOWN: C Smyth; C Fitzpatrick, R McEvoy (0-1 free), P Laverty; R Magill, C Doherty, P Branagan; A P Fegan, O Murdock; G Collins, L Kerr, M Rooney (1-0); A Gilmore (0-3 frees), P Havern (0-5, three frees), D McAleenan (0-1 free).
Subs: A Morgan for G Collins (24 mins); R Johnston for C Fitzpatrick (41 mins); J Johnston for P Branagan (46 mins); C Francis for M Rooney (54 mins); E Branagan for A Morgan (62).
Referee: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon).
Westmeath 4-27 Antrim 0-8
With John Heslin in sensational form, Westmeath kept in contention for promotion to Division 2 with a surprisingly facile win against a very disappointing Antrim side in Mullingar.
Westmeath totally dominated the first half despite Antrim having the aid of a slight wind. Heslin scored the first five scores of the game by the 16th minute, his 1-4 consisting of three converted frees and 1-1 from play, the goal finished under pressure from close range in the 12th minute.
The home team led by 1-6 to 0-0 when Antrim pounced for their opening two points courtesy of Pat Shivers and Odhran Eastwood. At the other end, Sam Duncan teed up Senan Baker who scored a great solo goal in the 28th minute. With Heslin bringing his first half tally to 1-9, Westmeath led by 2-12 to 0-3 at the interval.
Dessie Dolan’s charges scored their third goal just 15 seconds after the resumption of play, Heslin picking out David Lynch who found the net in style.
Westmeath’s fourth goal came in the 68th minute when the impressive Ronan O’Toole played in McCartan and he finished to the net with aplomb.
Two of the Westmeath subs, Tom Molloy (two) and Shane Dempsey (three), scored five points between them.
WESTMEATH: J Daly; D Scahill, K Maguire, N Harte; J Dolan (0-1), R Wallace, S McCartan (1-2); S Duncan (0-1), R Connellan; S Baker (1-0), R O’Toole (0-4), C McCormack; L Loughlin (0-2), J Heslin (1-12, eight frees), D Lynch (1-0).
Subs: T Molloy (0-2) for Connellan (43 mins), A McGivney for Scahill (55 mins), L Dolan for Baker (56 mins), D Giles for Harte (57 mins), S Dempsey (0-3) for McCormack (60 mins).
ANTRIM: M Byrne; E McCabe, O Lenehan, J McAuley; P Healy, J Finnegan, S O’Neill; K Small, C Stewart (0-1); P Finnegan, R A McCann, C McLarnon; P Shivers (0-4, two frees), R McCann (0-1), O Eastwood (0-2, one free).
Subs: S McGarry for Finnegan, D McEnhill for R A McCann and P Mervyn for Healy (all half-time), P McCormick for O’Neill (48 mins), J Dowling for Stewart (58 mins).
Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow)
Fermanagh 2-11 Tipperary 0-8
Goals win matches as Fermanagh showed as they took a step closer to promotion with a nine point victory over Tipperary in Ederney on Sunday.
Sean Quigley and Aidan Breen blasted home the vital goals in the 10th and 28th minute which gave them a pretty unassailable lead. Tipperary battled well for long periods but were not able to make any real impression on the athletic home side.
But the goals were needed, as Fermanagh hit eight wides from scorable positions in the opening half and failed to score for 15 minutes. And so, despite the nine point winning margin, it was a patchy performance from the home side, and while a physical Tipp side never looked like winning, they remained competitive.
This defeat for Declan Browne’s men means they have real relegation worries, while Fermanagh can now look forward to a crunch home match with Westmeath.
Wind-assisted Fermanagh made a nervous start but still opened the scoring when Quigley converted a mark after four minutes. Kevin Fahey responded for Tipp in a tepid opening 10 minutes as Fermanagh’s Tommy McCaffrey added a glorious point from the sideline for the home side who also hit two bad wides.
But they got the boost they needed in the 10th minute when Ultan Kelm surged forward, his shot was blocked by Tipperary goalkeeper Michael O’Reilly, and Quigley pounced and volleyed the rebound to the roof of the Tipp net.
Tipperary hit back with a fine point from midfielder Jack Kennedy in the 12th minute. The home side had loads of possession but hit five bade wides and did not score again for a full 15 minutes.
Tipp were struck a heavy blow when they lost influential midfielder Kennedy to a black card for a challenge on Fermanagh’s Brandon Horan in the 18th minute.
They were also unlucky two minutes later when they breached the Fermanagh defence, but Erne keeper Sean McNally somehow managed to smother Mark Stokes’ scrambled effort. The home side emerged from their slumber through an Aidan Breen point. And it got even better for them in the 28th minute when Tipp keeper O’Reilly was badly caught out in the Fermanagh half.
From the resultant turnover Tommy McCaffrey and Quigley combined to set up Breen who slid a low shot to the back of the net with O’Reilly still on his way back to base.
Emboldened, the home side hit another point from Josh Largo Ellis.
O’Reilly converted a 45 for Tipperary but Lee Cullen scored the score of the half when he galloped 60 metres and struck a fine point from 40 metres to put Fermanagh into a 2-6 to 0-3 lead in a half where they also posted nine wides.
Both sides threw on a number of subs in a pretty turgid second half where scores were at a premium.
The impressive Teddy Kennedy hit two points on the bounce for the visitors but they were quickly cancelled out by two Erne points from man of the match Shane McGullion and Breen.
With the pace dropped considerably in the second half Fermanagh tagged on just five points playing into the breeze.
Tipp had a bit more possession in this half and had another great chance of a goal but Erne keeper McNally somehow managed to smother Jimmy Feehan’s shot.
Ciaran Corrigan rounded off the scoring for Fermanagh with two well taken points.
FERMANAGH: Sean McNally; Luke Flanagan, Lee Cullen (1-0), Jonathan Cassidy; Aidan Breen (1-2), Shane McGullion (0-2) Ronan McCaffey; Ryan Jones, Brandon Horan; Josh Largo Ellis (0-1) Ryan Lyons, Ultan Kelm; Conor McGee, Sean Quigley (1-1, one free), Tommy McCaffrey (0-1).
Subs: Garvan Jones (0-1) for Ryan Lyons (25 mins), Declan McCusker for Aidan Breen and Ciaran Corrigan (0-2, one free) for Conor McGee (both 45 mins), Che Cullen for Luke Flanagan (50 mins), Diarmuid King (0-1) for Sean Quigley (65 mins).
TIPPERARY: Michael O’Reilly; Shane O’Connell, Jimmy Feehan, Willie Eviston; Emmet Moloney, Kevin Fahey (0-1), Colm O’Shaughnessy; Paudie Feehan, Jack Kennedy (0-3, two frees), Mark Stokes, Donough Leahy, Teddy Doyle (0-3); Colman Kennedy, Conor Cadell, Sean O’Connor.
Subs: Mark Russell for Coleman Kennedy (43 mins), Rian Quigley for Conor Cadell (46 mins), Stephen Quirke for Sean O’Connell (48 mins), Cathal Deely (0-1) for Willie Eviston (50 mins) Luke Boland for Donough Leahy (56 mins).
Referee: Kevin Faloon (Armagh)
Offaly 2-14 Longford 1-16
Longford still await their first win of Division 3 and remain bottom of the table as Offaly all but secured their Division 3 status with a narrow win at Pearse Park.
The crucial score of the game came in the 55th minute when Offaly substitute Jack Byrant scored their second goal. Only seconds before that Longford’s Dylan Farrell hit his low effort wide.
Longford kicked 16 wides over the course of the game, compared to Offaly’s five. They went 22 minutes in the second half without a score while Offaly scored 1-4 without reply.
In a tight opening half the sides were level six times and went in at the break 1-9 apiece.
In the fourth minute Bernard Allen capitalised on a slip by Barry O’Farrell to fire to the net. Down the other end a kick-out by Ian Duffy fell nicely for Daniel Mimnagh who scored a fine goal.
The lead changed twice in the closing stages of the first half. A pointed David McGivney free gave Longford the edge approaching half-time but Bernard Allen fired over to level the game at the half-time break.
Longford opened up a three point advantage in the 45th minute but the game changed in a matter of seconds in the 54th minute. Darren Gallagher’s pass found Farrell, who shot low but wide.
Offaly broke down the field and the ball ended up in the net through substitute Jack Bryant. Momentum was with the Faithful County and points from Allen and another sub Cian Farrell put them ahead by four in the 66th minute.
Joseph Hagan cut the deficit to one in the third minute of stoppage time but their comeback came too late.
OFFALY: I Duffy; J Evans (0-1), D Hogan, D Dempsey; R Egan, P Cunningham (0-1), L Pearson; J McEvoy (0-1 mark), C McNamee; N Dunne (0-3, one free), R McNamee, C Donohoe; B Allen (1-3), A Sullivan (0-2), D Hyland (0-2, one free).
Subs: J Maher for Evans and J Bryant (1-0) for Dunne (49 mins), B Carroll for McEvoy (57 mins), C Farrell (0-1) for McNamee (65 mins), L Egan for Sullivan (67 mins).
LONGFORD: P Collum; P Fox, A Farrell, B O’Farrell; I O’Sullivan, M Quinn (0-1), R Moffett; D McGivney (0-6 frees), D Gallagher; J Hagan (0-3), D Reynolds (0-1), D Mimnagh (1-0); R Brady (0-1), D Farrell (0-2), R Smyth.
Subs: O Kenny (0-1) for Smyth (half-time), L Connerton for Brady (56 mins), K McGann (0-1) for Reynolds (65 mins), F Sheridan for McGivney (67 mins).
Referee: S Lonergan (Tipperary)