First half goals the difference in Portglenone

Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup, Round 2

Antrim 0-09-2-10 Cavan

By Kevin Herron

First half goals from Martin Reilly and Brandon Boylan helped Cavan to a 2-10-0-09 win over Antrim in Sundays McKenna Cup clash in Portglenone.

Reilly struck an opportunist goal after Ryan O’Neill’s pointed effort came off the bar and Boylan added a second after the Saffrons had chipped away with three-points in succession.

The visitors may have added another couple of goals over the course of the sixty minutes, but Mick Byrne pulled off a string of impressive saves.

Cavan were first off the mark in Portglenone when Ciaran Brady claimed a mark and Oisin Brady was on hand to convert.

Oisin Kiernan was adjudged to have touched the ball on the ground at the other end and that presented Dominic McEnhill with the chance to restore parity and he dually obliged.

The hosts began to take a foothold in proceedings, but failed to take advantage on the scoreboard as McEnhill, Pat Shivers and Ruairi McCann were off target.

They were made to rue those missed opportunities when Cavan hit the opening goal of the game in the 9th minute.

Ryan O’Neill dropped an effort that looked to be heading over- though it dropped against the bar and Martin Reilly got to the loose ball ahead of Dermot McAleese and guided a low shot past Mick Byrne and into the net to give his side a 1-01-0-01 lead.

Reilly could have doubled his goal tally midway through the half after Brandon Boylan dinked the ball across to Reilly in the small square, but Byrne turned away his shot at this time of asking.

Cavan went close again within 60-seconds, Tiarnan Madden slipped in Oisin Brady whose effort cannoned off the bar. Brady was threaded through again, and Byrne did well to parry with his foot.

Antrim pulled a score back at the other end when Dermot McAleese played in Patrick McBride to float over the Saffrons second point of the half.

Back-to-back scores arrived courtesy of Oisin Brady, the first a confident shot that sailed over from play and the second was his second converted free of the half- from a difficult looking angle.

Antrim’s best scoring run would follow with three points on the spin. Oisin Lenehan got on the end of Mick Byrne’s kick-out and picked out Patrick McBride on the charge, he laid the ball off to Pat Shivers to pop over his first score of proceedings.

Ruairi McCann then kicked a superb 45’ and after Shivers was felled; Dominic McEnhill kicked his second free of the half to make it 1-04-0-05.

Their momentum was halted as Cavan hit their second goal of the game two minutes before the break.

Ryan O’Neill got his fist to a hopeful pass forward and it allowed Brandon Boylan to chase a loose ball which he poked past Byrne and to the net.

Killian Clarke kicked a super point in the aftermath with Shivers dropping one over at the other end as Cavan took a 2-05-0-06 lead in at the midway point.

Killian Clarke picked up where he left off before the break, kicking a fantastic point to extend Cavan’s lead almost ten minutes into the second period.

Goalkeeper Liam Brady then came up to kick a free from range and Oisin Brady increased his tally from the same scenario as the visitors were 2-08-0-06 ahead.

Things could have been much worse for Antrim had goalkeeper Byrne not pulled off two impressive saves to add to his many from the opening half.

First denying Ryan O’Neill and then after Cavan had pulled the Saffrons defence apart and the ball was worked to Martin Reilly- the corner-forward wound up for a shot that Byrne was equal to.

Talisman Brady converted his second free of the half and brought his personal tally to six in the process.

Antrim were staring down the barrel of ending the second period without a score. Their best chance of note came from a Patrick McBride effort that was inches past the post on the 45th minute.

They did rally late-on though as Dominic McEnhill kicked his third free of the afternoon and half-time substitute Ryan Murray added a second from the placed ball 60-seconds later.

Brady ended Cavan’s scoring for the afternoon, taking a pass from Oisin Kiernan and swinging over his second point from play.

Ryan Murray would get on the end of his own intended pass and shoot over the final score of the contest as the Saffrons fell to a 2-10-0-09 defeat and attention now turns to their league opener with Offaly at Corrigan Park on January 29th.

Antrim: M Byrne, P McBride (0-01), C Hynds, P Mervyn, D McAleese, J Finnegan, E McCabe, R McCann (0-01 45’), O Lenehan, M Jordan, S McGarry, C Stewart, P Shivers (0-02), K Small, D McEnhill (0-03f). Subs: R Boyle for E McCabe (10), R Murray (0-02, 0-01f) for P Shivers (HT), P McCormack for R Boyle (43), C McGirr for P Mervyn (52), C Duffin for K Small (52), S O’Neill for M Jordan (52), O Eastwood for R McCann (52), C McLarnon for O Lenehan (67), J Dowling for D McEnhill (67), C Higgins for C Stewart (67), R Hanna for M Byrne (67), C McGettigan for D McAleese (67).

Cavan: L Brady (0-01f), J Cooke, P Faulkner, E Finnegan, C Brady, D McVeety, T Madden, K Clarke (0-02), E Maguire, G Smith, B Boylan (1-00), O Kiernan, M Reilly (1-00), R O’Neill, O Brady (0-07, 0-01m, 0-04f). Subs: C Madden for B Boylan (47), R Donohoe for E Maguire (47), C Brady for K Clarke (53), C Rehill for E Finnegan (58), C Moynagh for C Brady (58), T Noack for M Reilly (58), C Madden for P Faulkner (62), C McGovern for R O’Neill (64).

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