By Martin Mannering
A late rally saw Lancashire claim their second win in the Lory Meagher Cup as they came from behind to pip Cavan in a hugely entertaining clash at Old Bedians on Saturday last.
It had looked bleak for the Northwest side entering the last ten minutes when Simon Wallace got his marching orders for a second yellow card with Cavan holding a three point lead.
Lancs started the game brightly enough with ‘scoring machine’ Ronan Crowley leading the way with three quickfire frees inside the first six minutes to start another another astonishing scoring haul.
The impressive Aiden Slattery had also chipped in with a point to lead by four before Cavan got a foothold in the game.
The Breffni side had their own danger men, in particular the two Sheanon brothers who play their club hurling with All Ireland club champions Cuala.
Centre forward Colm got his team on the scoreboard with a fine effort from wide on the right on the seven minute mark. Corner forward Killian got his first of the day and quickly the former added his second.
Lancashire struggled around the middle where Diarmuid Cahill dictated affairs for the Breffni men but the homeside defended resolutely and created enough chances to hold sway on the scoreboard.
Two Crowley frees sandwiched a Darragh O Brien point to maintain a three point lead at the twenty minute mark before Cavan reeled them in.
Colm Sheanon collected fifty metres out and left a string of defenders in his wake before an unstoppable shot past Vincent Morrissey to level matters.
Crowley responded with two super efforts from midfield but Cavan came again with points from Fiacra Hughes and Killian Sheanon tied it again.
Crowley would add two more before the break in response to Diarmuid Cahill and Colm Sheannon to go in all square on 1-8 to 0-11.
The seesaw nature of the game continued on the restart, the visitors were gaining more possession but the imperious Crowley kept his side in touch with some wonderful scores.
As in the Fermanagh game he hit them from everywhere. the Corkman exchanged three points with Diarmuid Cahill in the first ten minutes but slowly Cavan put their possession on the scoreboard as Sheanon of the Colm variety hit three swift points.
Crowley responded but Hughes and Sheanon again keep three between them. Another free from who else was cancelled out by Michael Sexton ten minutes from time before Wallace received his marching orders.
Rather than deflate the sending off galvanised the home side and they were a team transformed. Four points down from the resulting free they took complete control from there to the end they shook off the lethargy that seemed to grip them for a lot of the game.
The backlines put on the shackles, Thomas Duane and David Cahalane seized control of the centre and the forwards did more than enough to create the chances for Crowley as the visitors resorted to regular fouling he continued to fill his boots, some of his scores were so sublime they bordered on the ridiculous.
Two belters from midfield and two frees from barely 40 metres from his own goal were the highlights as he hit seven points in those final ten minutes to see Lancs home by three. The first five and final ten minutes aside Lancashire didn’t really reach the heights of the Fermanagh game but their resolve was impressive.
They will however need to perform at their best for longer when they host local rivals and Croke Park bound Warwickshire next week.
LANCASHIRE: Vincent Morrissey, Liam Knocker, Colm Larkin, Justin Cleere, Simon Wallace, Greg Jacob, Nathan Unwin, Thomas Duane, David Cahalane, Daragh O Brien (0-1), Stephen Duncan, Ronan Crowley (0-21,13f), Sean Power, Daire Maskey, Aiden Slattery (0- 2) SUBS: Patrick Duggan for Sean Power, David Coughlan for Nathan Unwin.
CAVAN: Darren Sheridan, Daithi Neary, Mark Hayes, Donal Kelly, Kevin O’Reilly, Anthony Sheridan, Matthew Hynes, Niall Browne, Diarmuid Cahill (0-4,2f), Stephen Harten (0-1), Colm Sheanon (1-7,1f), Fiacra Hughes (0-3), Killian Sheanon (0-3), Rob Everett, Michael Sexton (0-1).