Laragh Utd 1-17
Cavan football's new sheen at under 21 level was fairly reflected at the 3G last Sunday when Laragh won a cracking quarter-final clash at the expense of Crosserlough.
This was a game which proved a fine advertisement for underage football in the Breffni county with a clear majority of the 29 scores emanating from open play.
In a game which incorporated a raft of interesting personal battles and exciting cameos, the individual shoot-out between Laragh top scorer Paddy Rudden and Crosserlough's go-to-guy Barry McKiernan was a stand-out feature of the game.
Perfect playing conditions helped provide a welcome backdrop to a contest which, in truth, always looked likely to go Laragh's way.
The tone of the game was established in the early minutes with a high tempo accomodating a flurry of chances in front of goal at either side of the pitch.
Crosserlough led by the only goal in three after seven minutes and almost added a goal to that lead but Darragh McVeety's shot (9th min) was deflected and cleared up the field where the impressive Rudden levelled matters on the counter-attack.
The no less potent McKiernan converted a free in the 10th minute to put the black and ambers 0-3 to 0-2 in front but that was to be the last time the Kilnaleck-based side would lead in the match.
Four points - including a gem from Declan Brady - inside the following six minutes helped propel Laragh into a useful 0-6 to 0-3 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
With Seamus Cooney and Declan Brady putting in a very good shift at midfield, the Laragh supporters continued to benefit from a good quality supply of ball and the scores flowed accordingly.
Rudden set up Adrian Cooney in the 21st minute to help Laragh into a double scores lead, 0-8 to 0-4 but Paul McEvoy hit back moments later to keep Crosserlough in touch.
Predictably, Laragh enjoyed the better run in to the break and while McKiernan rifled over a massive free from over 50 metres, United hit back with interest to stretch their advantage to five points, 0-11 to 0-6, at half-time.
Crosserlough came with all guns blazing on the restart in an effort to eat into their opponents' cushioned lead but five wides inside the opening ten minutes of the second half proved to be their ball and chain with only a McKiernan point to show for their efforts in that period.
It wasn't until the 41st minute that Laragh opened their second half account through Rudden but with Crosserlough mistakenly going for goals instead of points, Laragh's clear lead remained locked tight.
A further point from McKiernan in the 44th minute helped keep United honest though and just four points in front and when Darragh McVeety goaled in the 46th minute to level matters, 1-9 to 0-12, a Lazarus-like recovery looked possible.
However the long-time leaders were in no mood to allow themselves to be rolled over and, on cue, Ruairi Power fired over in the 49th minute to regain a lead that United wouldn't relinquish thereafter.
The issue was all but settled in the 52nd minute when a long punt forward by Power was flicked to the net by Conal Donohoe to leave Crosserlough trailing by 1-9 to 1-13.
Crosserlough continued to work hard to fight their way back into the match but in a frantic finale, Laragh held all the aces to win pulling up.
Laragh Utd: Christopher Hand; Kevin O'Rourke, Colm McKenna, Enda Tierney; Dallan McKenna, Shane O'Rourke, Liam Brady; Seamus Cooney (0-1), Declan Brady (0-2); Conal Donohoe (1-0), Adrian Cooney (0-1), Cian O'Rourke (0-1); Ruairi Power (0-4), Paddy Rudden (0-7), Colm Smith.
Sub used: Laurence Brady (0-1).
Crosserlough: Kieran Galligan; Ryan Conaty, Killian Smith, Shane Galligan; Stephen McKiernan, Karl Lynch, Paul McEvoy (0-1); Owen Cusack (0-1), Padraig McManus; Dwayne Quigley, Mark Galligan, Adrian Smith; Barry McKiernan (0-7), John Lynch, Darragh McVeety (1-1).
Referee: Chris McCaffrey
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