ANY Championship defeat brings pain so this comprehensive loss ensured London left Ruislip on Saturday reflecting on another year of sheer hard graft.
Unfortunately this was one of the rare occasions in 2015 in which London were utterly outclassed. In the nine competitive matches London participated in this year they were only thumped twice by Longford and Cavan.
Every other fixture was a contest so for that reason alone London were bitterly disappointed because Cavan controlled the tone and tempo throughout. Even when the Exiles summoned a brief and typically defiant flurry in the third quarter fate seemed to conspire against them.
Cavan full back Rory Dunne suffered a nasty leg injury which necessitated a lengthy 10 minute delay, but when the action recommenced the Breffni boys regained the initiative. That burst which yielded 1-6 without reply proved decisive, London couldn’t recover. From then until the finish it was a struggle.
At the outset Cavan were encountering some difficulty converting opportunities. Terry Hyland’s team were crafting chances, but they weren’t taking as many as they would have liked which meant the teams were deadlocked at 0-2 each following nine interesting minutes.
While London were efficient initially the fact that Cavan were running the ball through the lines effectively began to cause the home team bother. Inevitably Cavan’s finishing improved as Niall McDermott kicked five delightful first half points.
Tomas Corr and Gearoid McKiernan repeatedly drifted into threatening positions which meant London were ailing. 0-5 to 0-3 ahead at the end of the opening quarter Cavan then reeled off six points on the spin.
McKiernan’s athleticism was a factor as was McDermott’s sweet left peg. London were fortunate that Cavan were denied goals by the woodwork and Declan Traynor as the interval approached. Still the 0-11 to 0-4 half-time advantage had a healthy cut to it.
After the restart London, with Lorcan Mulvey carrying the fight, enjoyed a decent spell trimming the deficit to five. Substitute Liam Gavigan was making an impact up front alongside Mulvey, but then Dunne’s injury occurred.
It all went a little bit flat as Cavan continued to pour forward in search of scores. Capable of getting runners involved from deep London were stretched when full forward Michael Argue extracted another smashing save from Traynor in the 57th minute.
McKiernan, though, reacted smartly to drill the rebound home. Further points from the splendid McKiernan, who shot 1-3 in three blistering minutes, ensured Cavan were firmly in command, 1-18 to 0-7.
A Mulvey free drew a response from Cavan as Argue was instrumental manufacturing a second goal which Dara McVeety palmed to the London net. Three more Mulvey points showed how much London cared.
In the 11 minutes of additional time Cathal Og Greene was sent off when picking up a second yellow card for a foul on Damien O’Reilly. Cavan were closing out the deal with the minimum of fuss as their busy substitutes were ready, willing, and able to contribute completely aware that their campaign remains promising.
It was a grave pity London exited having received such a beating, but there was no shame in losing against superior opposition. There was honour in how London’s players and management conducted themselves throughout the Allianz Football League and Championship. Every sinew was strained. No more could have been done.
Cavan 9 (5)
London 7 (5)
Cavan 20 (11)
London 24 (12)
London (C Carty 15)
Cavan (D McVeety 69)
London (C Og Greene 12 & 70, L Mulvey 9)
London (C Og Greene 70)
Scorers for Cavan: G McKiernan 1-6, D McVeety 1-2, N McDermott 0-5 (2fs), T Corr 0-3, N Murray 0-1, E Reilly 0-1, C Mackey 0-1, M McKeever 0-1, M Reilly 0-1 (f), R Galligan 0-1 (45).
Scorers for London: L Mulvey 0-6 (4fs), A O’Hara 0-3 (1f), D McGreevy 0-1, L Gavigan 0-1.
Cavan: R Galligan; J McLoughlin, R Dunne, K Clarke; C Brady, F Flanagan, D O’Reilly; T Corr, G McKiernan; D McVeety, N Murray, M Reilly; R Flanagan, M Argue, N McDermott. Subs: C Mackey for Clarke (11 mins), J McEnroe for Dunne (53 mins), E Reilly for Flanagan (60 mins), M McKeever for Brady (66 mins), P Smith for M Reilly (66 mins), K Brady for Murray (70 mins).
London: D Traynor; B Collins, P Butler, S Curran; M McCoy, C Carty, D McGreevy; M Carroll, A Bradley; S Conroy, M Gottsche, C Og Greene; A O'Hara, L Mulvey, A Moyles. Subs: N Boyle for Carty (16 mins, bc), L Gavigan for Moyles (33 mins), A Carr for O’Hara (46 mins), C Sheridan for Conroy (60 mins), A O’Regan for Bradley (65 mins), S Devine for McCoy (66 mins).
Referee: P Neilan (Roscommon).