Cavan Gaels 0-9
Crosserlough laid down a marker in the senior championship tonight after handing Cavan Gaels a 12-point hammering at Kingspan Breffni.
Last year’s beaten finalists were not to be caught once Stephen Smith steered home their opening goal on 45 minutes, going on to outscore the Gaels by 1-3 to 0-2 in the closing quarter and usher themselves a step closer to the knock-out stages of this competition.
County men Dara McVeety and Conor Rehill combined for 1-4 off the bench for the winners, with the former’s introduction five minutes before half-time helping accelerate them to another gear.
On the other side, it was an off-colour performance from the Gaels after their hammering of Lavey in Round 1 as they managed just four scores from open play throughout the hour.
David Shalvey had the Kilnaleck outfit off the mark inside three minutes and Patrick Lynch’s well-struck ‘45’ put them two to the good.
That lead could have been at five were it not for Gary O’Rourke standing tall to deny James Smith the net after the ex-county minor pierced through with an interception in the Gaels’ half-back line.
Three Sean Johnston points (2 frees) swung Ronan Clarke’s men in front instead but the lead would be short lived as Darren Gaffney, Smith and Lynch all raised white flags to outweigh another Johnston free.
Gaels skipper Paul O’Connor clipped one over off the post to level things up at 0-5 apiece on 25 minutes when the would-be winners introduced talisman McVeety to the fray.
Pierce Smith latched on to a wayward kick-out from O’Rourke to edge the black and ambers back in front and they’d finish out the half in style with sub McVeety lashing over off the back of a some slick inter-change from the Lough’s front men.
The same Smith sped away from Barry Fortune for his second point of the night and Johnston’s second from play left it at 0-8 to 0-6 when the teams went in at the break.
McVeety struck an early brace to hand his team the perfect restart and the former Cavan captain would land a third in 12 minutes following one from Cian Boylan, making it 0-12 to 0-7.
Three minutes later and Jimmy Higgins’s charges would put the game to bed when Mark Stuart ripped through the Gaels’ centre and fired straight at O’Rourke, who could only parry the wing-back's powerful shot into the path of an on-rushing Smith and he did the rest.
The 2017 champions faced a mountainous task after that and posting just two more scores for the final quarter wouldn’t cut the mustard.
Johnston’s fifth free in the 46th minute would be his last contribution before withdrawal and cancelled out by Lynch prior to James Smith looping over with four minutes left on the clock.
With is team leading by nine, Adrian Smith made an immediate impact off the bench when latching on to a ball through the centre and holding on long enough against swatting Gaels defenders to tee up fellow sub Rehill for the net.
That was game, set and match as sub Martin Dunne erased Cian Boylan's point in the added minutes, leaving an even dozen in it at the finish and Crosserlough with one foot in the last eight.
Meanwhile, Barry Reilly's 64th minute free saved Kingscourt Stars at 1-14 to 1-14 draw against Lacken at St Matthew's Park, Crosskeys, where the sides had also been level at the halfway stage (1-8 to 0-11).
Crosserlough: Anthony Smith; Cian Boylan (0-2), Patrick O’Reilly, David Shalvey (0-1); Shane McVeety, Peter Smith, Mark Stuart; James Smith (0-2), Paul McEvoy; Darren Gaffney (0-1), Pierce Smith (0-2), Shane McManus; Brandon Boylan, Stephen Smith (1-0), Patrick Lynch (0-3, 1f, 1 ‘45’). Subs: Dara McVeety (0-4) for D Gaffney (25mins), Conor Rehill (1-0) for S McManus (40), John Cooke for S McVeety (52), Adrian Smith for P Smith (57), Emmet Boylan for P O’Reilly (59), Barry McKiernan for C Boylan (60).
Cavan Gaels: Gary O’Rourke; Michael Veale, Niall Gurhy, Kevin Meehan; Luke Fortune, Barry Fortune, Stephen Murray; Luke Molloy, Niall Murray; Niall Smith, Andy Graham, Levi Murphy; Keenan Donohoe, Paul O’Connor (0-1), Sean Johnston (0-7, 5f). Subs: Vinny Coyle for A Graham (40mins), Daniel Graham for M Veale (43), Martin Dunne (0-1) for K Donohoe (48), Declan Meehan for S Johnston (48).
Ref: Joe McQuillan (Kill Shamrocks)Tweet