Allianz NHL Div 3B Rnd 3
By Larry Cooney
Lancashire duly made it three wins out of three following a nine-point victory at rain-sodden Jordanstown last Sunday afternoon.
But the final scoreline was no indication of just how tough this latest test was for Stan Murray-Hession’s charges after a much improved performance from Cavan.
Two late goals from Martin Hawley in the 62nd and 70th minutes gave the Exiles a flattering margin of victory.
But a big call from referee Kevin Brady in 55th minute to disallow a second goal for Cavan and the dismissal of Niall Browne ten minutes later were just some of the key moments that turned a surprisingly competitive game between two honest teams in very difficult playing conditions.
Although James Fitzmaurice gave the Exiles a perfect start with a point in the opening minute it soon became clear that Cavan were not going to be over-run in this encounter.
After Kevin Conneely hit an opportunist equalising point in the fourth minute his midfield partner Sean Keating gave the Breffni men the lead a minute later from a ’65.
And the sides were still locked at 0-4 each just before the end of the first quarter following three Ronan Crowley frees in reply to two points from Cavan captain Anthony Sheridan and Sean Keating’s second successful 65.
Although wearing No. 6 Anthony Sheridan was now switched to full forward and after a Nathan Unwin point edged the Exiles back into the lead they were rocked by a goal from the Cavan captain in the eighteenth minute.
However points from Ronan Crowley’s fourth successful free and James Fitzmaurice tied the scores after twenty minutes.
And although Philip Brady edged Cavan back in front two minutes later a poor puc-out by Cavan presented JJ Dunphy with an equaliser a minute later.
Some wonderful technique from Corkman Ronan Crowley then enabled the Exiles to go back into the lead almost immediately.
However as Lancashire were beginning to get on top with three unanswered points from Darren Crowley and JJ Dunphy and another Ronan Crowley free Cavan closed out the half well with three late points from Paul Sheridan pointed frees to leave the half-time score: Lancashire 0-12 Cavan 1-8.
But the crucial statistic from the opening half was the Exiles’ wide count of eight compared to just two for Cavan.
Competitive third quarter
Lancashire were getting little change out of a dogged Cavan defence and athough they opened up a three-point lead by the end of the third quarter the plucky and determined Breffni men were still showing remarkable resilience.
The Exiles’ marksmanship also did not improve in the second half with another seven wides and consequently Cavan were always within striking distance.
It looked as if Lancashire were about to pay for their poor shooting in the fifty-fifth minute when Cavan thought they had scored an equalising goal but the referee disallowed the score after consulting his umpires.
But Cavan did cut the deficit to two points soon afterwards through another Philip Sheridan free.
But the first of Martin Hawley’s late brace of goals in the sixty-second minute finally turned the table in favour of the Exiles.
That score was followed by another Ronan Crowley effort from play and a second Martin Hawley goal and Ronan Crowley’s ninth score in response to Philip Sheridan’s sixth successful free.
But late substitute Michael Sexton was also denied by a fine save from goal-keeper Stephen Grace that left the final score: Lancashire 2-18 Cavan 1-12.
Scorers: Lancashire – Ronan Crowley 0-9 (0-5f) , Martin Hawley 2-0, James Fitzmaurice 0-3, Nathan Unwin, JJ Dunphy and Darren Crowley 0-2 each. Cavan – Paul Sheridan 0-6, Anthony 1-1, Sean Keating 0- 3, Kevin Conneely and Philip Brady 0-1 each.
LANCASHIRE: Stephen Grace; Liam Knocker, Justin Cleere, Simon Wallace; David Power, Greg Jacob, Nathan Unwin; James Fitzmaurice, Stephen Duncan; Darren Crowley, Sean Hannon, JJ Dunphy; Daire Maskey, Martin Hawley, Ronan Crowley. Subs: Ferghal McKillop for Simon Wallace 26, Tommy Duane for Sean Hannon 47.
CAVAN: Darren Sheridan; Mark Moffett, Mark Hayes, Matthew Hynes; Michael Sexton, Anthony Sheridan, Ronan O’Hagan; Kevin Conneely, Sean Keating; Darragh Brady, Joshua Crowe, Cormac Wall; Niall Browne, Paul Sheridan, Philip Brady. Subs: Eugene Hill for Cormac Wall 41, Neasan Neary for Michael Sexton 69.
REFEREE: Kevin Brady (Louth).