A five-star first half display served to give Cavan’s faltering NFL Division Three campaign the kiss of life at Kingspan Breffni Park on Saturday night last.
Pointless after their opening two games, the Breffni blues conjured up a mightily impressive 0-10 to 0-3 interval lead before staving off a Sligo fightback to nick both points on offer.
With all but three of the hosts starting line-up under 25, Cavan boss Val Andrews plumped for pace, mobility and hunger to ignite his adopted team’s start to the year and, to a large extent, it worked.
With such a bevy of 2011 Ulster MFC and Ulster under 21 winners on their starting orders, the onus was on the Cavan to run the legs off their more experienced opponents and for over half of the match, things stuck to the script.
Cavan’s 22 year old totemic midfielder Gearoid McKiernan set the tone for a Midas-like first half display by the blues with a point after barely 35 seconds.
The hosts dominated virtually every sector of the field in a textbook-like first half display and weren’t flattered by their 0-10 to 0-3 cushioned lead at the interval.
Cavan Gaels speedsters, Niall Smith, Kevin Meehan and Martin Dunne were a revelation up front, making little of the continuing absence of their out-of-favour club colleague Seanie Johnston.
After the game team manager Andrews was anxious to talk up the future as he sees it for Cavan’s young guns:
“I thought we were magnificent in the first half, the way we ran onto the ball, carried it and took our scores,” Andrews enthused.
“The lads showed a brilliant work rate and tackled like trojans. It’s great to see youth doing so well but, just as importantly, fight for each other.”
To see what else Andrews had to say and for the remainder of last Saturday’s encounter, see this week’s Longford Leader.