8 man Cavan/Monaghan league bow out of Oscar Traynor Cup

The Roscommon and District Soccer League progressed to the Quarter-Finals of the Oscar Traynor Cup with a 3-0 victory over the Cavan/Monaghan League at their Splendid League grounds in Lecarrow in this Shannonside-Northern Sound Derby knockout contest. Gregory Grogan, Gary Canavan, and Peter Farrell scored the goals to book the Roscommon and District League an away quarter-final tie against the Inishowen League, while the visitors ended the game with just eight players on the field after Enda Hessin, Gary Hessin, and keeper Jamie Smith were all dismissed in the second-half.

The Roscommon and District League suffered a big double blow in the build-up to the game as key players Andy Nevin and Ethan Keogh signed for Athlone Town and thus are no longer part of the panel.

Both teams had reached the last ten of the competition by finishing runners-up in their respective groups of four. In their group, the Roscommon and District League were unbeaten in their three group games recording a 2-1 victory at home to the Mayo League before securing two draws on the road against the Galway League and reigning Oscar Cup Champions, the Clare League. The Clare league topped the group to book a quarter-final berth leaving the Roscommon League with a play-off to reach the last eight.

The Cavan-Monaghan League won their opening two games as they beat the Donegal League 2-1 away before securing their place in the knock-out stages for the first time since 2009 with a comprehensive 5-2 home victory over the Sligo/Leitrim League. However, despite leading 2-1 at half-time in the group decider away to the Inishowen League, they eventually lost 7-3, a result that booked the 2014 champions place in the quarter-finals, with the Cavan/Monaghan side having to settle for an away play-off in their bid to make the last eight.

It was the visitors who had the better of the opening exchanges in the contest and they could have been two up after just 5 minutes. Firstly, the impressive full-back Enda Hessin ran at the home defence down the left flank and cut inside into the box before firing a shot from a tight angle into the side netting. Two minutes later, a superb ball from Brian Dolan put in striker McEntee but the big striker squandered the opportunity.

The Roscommon side then found their groove and gradually stamped their authority on the game. On 8 minutes, a cross from Dominic Bligh from the left was fired just wide by the sliding lunge of striker Peter Farrell.

The home side’s dominance eventually resulted in the opening goal on 37 minutes. Concannon’s knock down found Farrell and his ball towards the far post was guided to the net by the inrushing Grogan who had timed his run to perfection.

The Cavan/Monaghan League almost equalised just two minutes later when a Dean Connolly strike from twenty-five yards was spilled by home keeper Fallon, but he retrieved the ball at the second attempt with two Cavan/Monaghan players about to pounce.

Just before the interval, the home side should have doubled their advantage when Canavan released Farrell only for the striker to blaze well over from the edge of the box, and the same duo combined just a minute later with Farrell heading over the bar.

The Cavan/Monaghan League suffered a huge blow in the 52nd minute when their best player Enda Hessin received his marching orders for a second yellow card after a foul on Canavan, and in the 68th minute, they were reduced to just nine players when Gary Hessin received a bizarre but correct straight red card for leaving the field of play due to not being able to control his kidneys!!

The Roscommon and District League scored the inevitable second goal on 75 minutes when Canavan found the net at the second attempt with a low 20 yard shot after his initial effort had been blocked. The visitors found themselves down to eight players straight after the goal as their keeper Jamie Smith was sent-off for striking the goal scorer.

The home side had several chances to score a third with Hunt heading against the bar the stand-out chance, before striker Farrell rattled the net in the last minute to give the Roscommon and District League a 3-0 victory and a place in the last eight. Despite the disappointing manner of their exit from the competition, the Cavan/Monaghan League can be proud of their achievement of progressing to the last ten and getting out of the group stages for the first time since 2009.

The Cavan-Monaghan League may have exited the Oscar Traynor Cup after last night’s 3-0 loss to the Roscommon and District League but by getting out of the group for the first time since 2009, they made the last ten of the competition. However, speaking to our reporter Tony Ghee, their manager Brian Smith was disappointed at his side’s performance and ill discipline.

After the game, our reporter, Tony Ghee spoke with the Roscommon manager Enda Concannon.

Roscommon and District League: Noel Fallon, John Connaughton, Enda Kenny, Joe Woods, Jack Higgins, Gary Canavan, Darragh Concannon, Dominic Bligh, Gregory Grogan, Ronan Curran, Peter Farrell.

Substitutes used: Andy Higgins for Curran (68 minutes), Joe Hunt for Dominic Bligh (82 minutes), Cormac Clogher for Canavan (86 minutes), Thomas Hurley for Grogan (87 minutes).

Cavan/Monaghan League: Jamie Smith, Sarto Quigley, John McAree, Mark Thornton, Enda Hessin, Mark Mulligan, Simon Douglas, Brian Dolan, Dean Connolly, David McEntee, Gary Hessin.

Substitutes used: Kevin Loughan for Dolan (half-time), Corrie smith for Connolly (52 minutes), Ronan Stirrat for Mulligan (65 minutes).

Referee: Eugene Deering.