Despite dominating this match for 50 minutes, Louth were eventually undone by a powerful Cavan response in the final third, which saw the current Leinster Junior Championship holders into the semi finals by the narrowest of margins last Wednesday evening.
In the end it took four unanswered points from Barry Reilly, Paul Gorham and Ross Sheridan to overcome the Wee County’s two point lead.
Indeed Louth might have had a chance at drawing the match right at the death when Dreadnots midfielder James Califf launched over a free to cut the lead to just one, however the equalising score failed to arrive as referee Gerry McMahon called time on this clash in Dowdallshill.
Wednesday’s match saw a run out for Sean O’Mahony’s Peter Nixon at full back. Nixon has been in great form for the Point Road outfit in the league this year and deserved his opportunity to shine in the Dowdallshill sunshine.
St Patrick’s forward Eoin O’Connor lined out at full forward. O’Connor had been in or around the senior set-up this year and lined out for the seniors in their challenge match against Wicklow three weeks ago in Pentony Park.
Even though the Reds dominated for most of the match, it was the Breffini County who got off to the best possible start when Chris Conroy raised the green flag following some costly individual errors along the Louth defensive line.
One of the standout performers on the Wee County side, Cathal Bellew, was on hand to push Louth into a deserved one point lead heading into the final 20 minutes when he slammed the ball past Alan O’Mara in the Cavan goal.
O’Mara was tending goal once again for Cavan following his brave decision to speak out about his battle with depression in the national media last week. He could do little to prevent Bellew’s effort.
A Sean Hand point stretched that margin to two, before Cavan’s triple threat of Reilly, Gorham and Sheridan did enough to earn the Breffini men the victory.
Much of the game lacked any real quality from both sides. Miss timed passes and a failure to convert chances were ultimately be the home side’s undoing.
Gaels man Sean McCann and James Califf were guilty of not converting frees when it mattered.
Despite that, Califf did put over three scores and Shane O’Hanlon impressively put himself about in the middle of the park for Louth.
It may be the end of the season for the juniors, but many will be hopeful that they may still make an impression at senior level either this year or in the next few years.
Cavan: A O’Mara; J Morris, T Mooney, O Minagh; N Reilly, D Barkey, M Brady; M Leddy, R Sheridan (0-1); C Conroy (1-2), B Reilly (0-3), N Murray (0-2); D McVitty, D Hyland (0-1), C Madden. Subs: P Graham (0-1) for Mooney; M Argue for Madden; P Faulkner for Conroy; T Moore for Hyland.
Louth: J Flanagan; P Nixon, B Mulligan, K McLoughlin; G O’Hare, R Brennan, P Sheelan; S McCann (0-1), B Duffy; J Califf (0-3), S O’Hanlon (0-2), C Bellew (1-0); S Hand (0-1), E O’Connor (0-2), P Carrie. Subs: N Conlon for P Carrie, G Connolly for G O’Hare. Referee: G McMahon (Dublin).
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