Two goals from half-time sub Stephen Murray helped Cavan to a 3-10 to 1-06 win over Laois in MW Hire O'Moore Park on Sunday afternoon. 

This fixture fell foul to Storm Ciara last weekend and while the pitch passed a pitch inspection, it was played in foul conditions in Portlaoise with the visitors striking for goals either side of the break to record their second win of the campaign. 

After three rounds of games in Allianz Football League Division 2, it’s incredibly tight, with Cavan now on four points alongside Armagh and Westmeath, Laois and Roscommon on three and Kildare, Fermanagh and Clare all on two each. 

With the league placings having an impact on this year’s All-Ireland (only teams in the top two divisions - along with provincial finalists - will be eligible for the qualifiers), survival is the name of the game. 

Cavan had the wind in the first half and they registered the first score with 30 seconds on the clock through Oisin Pierson.

John O'Loughlin levelled things up but Cavan got back on top through Pierson and Bryan Magee after 11 minutes.

O'Carroll and Cavan wing back Gerard Smith, who landed three from play in the first half, traded scores before Laois took the lead for the first time after 21 minutes.

They worked a free short from the wing and the ball flashed across the goal where Evan O'Carroll got a toe to it. His effort came back off the post but Eoin Lowry was first to react and he smashed the ball to the net.

Cavan made a mess of the resulting kick-out and Laois won a free which Mark Barry converted after 22 minutes to leave them 1-3 to 0-4 ahead.

However, Cavan finished the half strongly with Pierson, Smith and Bryan Magee all pointing to leave them two clear as we entered four minutes of injury time.

And that would prove a costly period for Laois as Cavan scored a fortutious goal through Evan Doughty who was surely going for a point when his effort hung in the air and deceived Niall Corbet by going in via the far post.

Laois would then lose Robbie Pigott to a black card as suddenly the game started to slip away from the home side. 

Cavan took a 1-08 to 1-03 lead into the break and used their man advantage straight away on the restart as Kiernan popped a ball into space where half time sub Stephen Murray got to the ball before keeper Niall Corbet and fisted it to the net.

Laois had chances to narrow the gap but Cavan remained a safe distance clear and after Gary Walsh missed a late penalty for Laois, Murray’s injury-time goal wrapped up a good afternoon for Cavan.

SCORERS –

Cavan: Stephen Murray 2-00, Oisin Pierson 0-03, Gerard Smith 0-03, Bryan Magee 0-03 (one mark, two frees), Evan Doughty 1-00, Raymond Galigan 0-01 (one free); 

Laois: Evan O'Carroll 0-03 (two frees, one 45), Eoin Lowry 1-00, John O'Loughlin 0-02, Mark Bary 0-01 (free) 

Cavan: Raymond Galligan; Martin Reilly, Padraig Faulkner, Killian Brady; Gerard Smith, Ciaran Brady, Oisin Kiernan; Thomas Galligan, Chris Conroy; Luke Fortune, Bryan Magee, Evan Doughty; Oisin Pierson, Gearoid McKiernan, James Smith.

Subs Stephen Murray for Fortune (ht), Conor Madden for Conroy (51), Liam Buchanan for Smith (69), Paul Gilcreest for Doughty (71), Stephen Smith for Magee (73)

Laois: Niall Corbet; Brian Byrne, Mark Timmons, Gearoid Hanrahan; Sean O'Flynn, Robbie Pigott, Paddy O’Sullivan; John O’Loughlin, Sean Byrne; Michael Keogh, Colm Murphy, Eoin Lowry; Mark Barry, Kieran Lillis, Evan O’Carroll.

Subs: Damien O'Connor for Keogh (ht), Trevor Collins for Byrne (45), Ross Munnelly for Murphy (49), Gary Walsh for O'Flynn (60, inj), Diarmuid Whelan for O'Carroll (64)

Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh)