Ulster MFC Round 2 Cavan V Armagh

May 15th, 2024 | News

Ulster MFC Round 2 Cavan V Armagh

Minors beaten by Armagh in round 2
Ulster MFC round 2

Cavan 1-9

Armagh 2-11

Cavan minors fell to their second defeat of this year’s Ulster Championship as they lost out to Armagh on Saturday. The result puts pressure on Seanie Smith’s side going into the final group stage game against Antrim as a defeat would end their chances of an Ulster title and see them compete in the third tier All-Ireland series.

A disappointing first half saw Cavan trail Armagh by six points at the break with the boys in blue wasteful in front of goals and pedestrian with the ball all too often. Cavan’s only point from play in the opening half came after five minutes as the Armagh defence were quicker to get set up than the Cavan attack was to get into the scoring zone.

In a game where frees were rare, Armagh hit their total entirely from open play, with Cavan scoring three from dead balls. Armagh’s forward unit played with cohesion as they popped the ball around the scoring zone until the shot was on, resulting in four of their six forwards scoring more than once from open play.

Conditions were just perfect with the first glimpse of summer apparent as the ball was thrown in by referee Ryan Walsh. Cavan had the first attack with wing-back Tiernan Flood bursting through to win a free but Odhran Madden’s free failed to raise a flag.

Armagh showed their teeth with their next attack when a defence splitting run by wing-back Diarmaid O’Rourke carved open the Cavan rearguard before playing the ball across the goal mouth for mid-fielder Jack Loughran to palm to the back of the net.

Joshua Shehu is tackled by Fionn Toale. Photo: Adrian Donohoe.
Cavan responded well by winning the resulting kick-out and after beating three Armagh defenders, Joshua Shehu declined the sniff of a goal chance to tap the ball over the bar. That moment was possibly an insight to Cavan in the remainder of the first half as they opted for the safer option in most situations.

As Cavan had done, Armagh won their own kick-out after the score and transferred it forward to Fionn Toal who curled the ball over the bar from 25 metres. Cavan then went on a run of missed chances as 1-5 slipped away before the 18th minute. The best of those chances was when Jamie Clarke got on the end of an early ball to the square but having to bring the ball back to his left side saw it slip to the ground and his volleyed effort didn’t trouble the goalkeeper.

With 20 minutes on the clock, Aidan O’Rourke’s side extended their lead to four with a point by James McCooe as he was quickest to react to the rebound off the Cavan post. Full-forward Eoin Duffy sent over the first of his four points with his left foot followed by a second from distance by McCooe to leave the score 1-4 to 0-1 with six minutes remaining in the half.

A foul on Shehu won Cavan a free which Nathan Quigley sent over the bar with his left foot. Cavan corner-back Oisin Maguire was leading the way for his side to get back into the game with a number of interceptions and turnovers, but it never transferred to scores on the board at the other end. The final score of the half was sent over the bar by O’Rourke when he found himself in space in the scoring zone to give the visitors a six-point lead at the break.

Cavan needed to come out fighting and were quick off the mark with a Joshua Shehu free after a minute. A beautiful long range point from Tadgh Sheils with his left foot left just four between the sides and shifted the momentum in Cavan’s favour.

With four second half minutes played and Cavan moving at speed, Jamie Clarke laid a handpass quickly off to sub Ultan O’Reilly who at pace drilled the ball low to the corner of the net. Cavan now just one point behind were showing a real spark in attack.

Armagh won the resulting kick out and worked it down to the town end along the terrace side of the field for Eoin Duffy to cut in and fist the ball over the bar.

Cavan still determined to claw into the Armagh lead added a fourth score in the opening six minutes of the second half with an outside of the left boot point from Tadgh Sheils.

While very dangerous going forward Cavan were exposed at the back and after Eoin Duffy missed an easy goal chance Jack Loughran won the Cavan restart to set up Aaron Garvey for Armagh’s second goal. Another fisted point similar to the one earlier in the half was sent over by Eoin Duffy pushed the Armagh lead back out to five.

A snap shot point on the left foot of sub Charlie Fallon and a point from a tight angle by Ryan Nwaneri brought the gap back to three points with ten minutes remaining but that was as close as Cavan got as Armagh managed the remainder of the game.

A third fisted point for Armagh this time from Aaron Garvey less than a minute later was matched by a second Joshua Shehu free. Armagh full forward Eoin Duffy sent over his fourth point of the game with six minutes of ordinary time remaining. A point from 40 metres by Cavan corner-back Fiachra Brady with two minutes remaining proved to be Cavan’s final score of the game.

A fisted point from Aaron Garvey under very little pressure increased the Armagh lead to four and forced Cavan to go for a goal in the dying minutes.

Ryan Nwaneri blasted a shot which forced a save from Michael Finnegan in the Armagh goal in a last attempt for Cavan before Garvey fisted over a fifth point of that style two minutes into injury-time to seal a five point win for Armagh.

Cavan: Cian McConnell, Oisin Maguire, Conor Doyle, Fiachra Brady0-1); Shane McCabe, Cian McCrystal, Tiernan Flood; Jamie Clarke, Ryan Nwaneri, Tadgh Sheils(0-2), Joshua Shehu(0-3,2f), Shane Galligan, Nathan Quigley(0-1f), Odhran Madden, Thomas Gilsenan

Subs: Ultan O’Reilly(1-0), Bobby Hanley, Charlie Fallon(0-1), Seamus O’Reilly, Senan Macken, Faolán Graham

Armagh: Michael Finnegan, Tomás Fox, Danny McGee, Conall Wilson, Fergus Toale, Sean Woods, Diarmaid O’Rourke(1-1), Jack Loughran, Daithi O’Callaghan, Aaron Garvey(1-3), James McCooe(0-2), Keelan McEntee, Fionn Toale(0-1), Eoin Duffy(0-4), Shea Loughran

Subs: Gavin O’Rourke, Ross Marsden, Oisin Gribben.