Cavan 1-16 Roscommon 3-17
Roscommon scored an emphatic win over Cavan at Kingspan Breffni Park to move into the third round of the All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers.
Martin Reilly and Roscommon’s Cathal Cregg both struck early goals, but points from Ultan Harney and Donie Shine helped the Rossies to a 1-7 to 1-6 interval lead.
After the dismissal of Cavan’s Tomas Corr, Enda Smith netted a second Roscommon goal before Smith’s second goal sealed it for John Evans’s side in stoppage time.
Cavan got off to a dream start when Cian Mackey’s perfectly placed pass picked out Reilly, who slid the ball low past goalkeeper Darren O’Malley after just 25 seconds.
But the Rossies were in front by the fourth minute, Cregg smashing home a goal, after Ciarain Murtagh and Shine had fired over points.
Donie Shine, Cregg and Niall Daly combined in a tidy move which Smith finished off with a point as the Connacht men eased into a 1-03 to 1-02 lead after ten minutes.
But Cavan’s fortified defensive system frustrated the visitors as they built from the back from uncontested kick-outs.
It was a strategy that presented its own difficulties for Terry Hyland’s side, who struggled to inject pace into their counter-attacks, and enjoyed little success from the long ball option towards towering target man Michael Argue.
The home side managed just one point - a Mackey free - between the third and 20th minutes, and slipped further behind when Harney collected Conor Daly’s return pass to slot over another point.
But Gearoid McKiernan began to emerge as a major figure in midfield for Cavan, collecting Argue’s assist to thump over a score, and he was also involved in the move that gave Reilly the opportunity to bring the side level on 31 minutes.
Accurate ball struck in the direction of full forward Harney set the Clann na nGael man up for his second score, sending Roscommon in at the break with a 1-07 to 1-06 advantage.
Cavan midfielder Tomas Corr didn’t appear for the second half, but was called onto the field by referee David Gough to be shown a straight red card, having been involved in an incident as the teams left the field at the end of the opening half.
Roscommon wasted no time in exploiting the numerical handicap that was to prove the undoing of their opponents.
Shine drive over a free and Conor Daly danced through for a couple of neat scores as they went three clear.
And in the 43rd minute, Enda Smith broke through to slide home their second goal.
Now six points behind, Cavan could easily have collapsed, but they displayed pride and mental strength, despite the fact that their physical fortitude was draining away by the minute.
Mackey and Argue pulled back points, and the introduction of Barry Reilly and Ciaran Brady added a spark to their attacking effort.
Both subs registered scores as the home side got back to within three points of the beaten Connacht semi-finalists.
Wider gaps were now appearing at the back, however, and the gifted Diarmuid Murtagh exploited the space to nail a couple of tidy scores.
Substitute Donie Smith drove a ’45 between the posts, and it was all over for the Cavan project of 2015 when Smith drifted in at the far post to palm home his second goal in stoppage time.
Cavan: R Galligan, J McLoughlin, J McEnroe, K Brady, N Murray (0-02), F Flanagan, D O’Reilly, C McKiernan (0-01), T Corr, C Mackey (0-03, 2f), D McVeety, M Reilly (1-03), R Flanagan, M Argue (0-01), N McDermott (0-01, f).
Subs: T Hayes for McDermott (18), C Moynagh for Flanagan (h-t), B Reilly (0-03, 2f) for Brady (47), C Brady (0-01) for O’Reilly (50), M Dunne (0-01) for Flanagan (58), P Smith for Argue (68)
Roscommon: D O’Malley, S McDermott, N Collins, D Murray, N Daly, D Keenan, C Cafferky, I Kilbride, K Higgins, C Daly (0-02), C Cregg (1-01), E Smith (2-01), U Harney (0-03), D Shine (0-03, 2f), C Murtagh (0-03, 1f).
Subs: D Murtagh (0-03) for Higgins (44), R Stack for Kilbride (51), D Smith for C Murtagh (55), B Murtagh for Shine (60), T Featherstone for Murray (64), C Connolly (0-01) for Cregg (66)
Referee: D Gough (Meath).