By Mike Fitzpatrick
Stamford entered this Junior "B" football contest as slight favorites, having reached the semifinal stage of this competition last year, when they were beaten by a rampant Monaghan side. Cavan, on the other hand, are still hurting from their demotion from the "A" division last year, and at times during this match Sunday at Gaelic Park, that was quite obvious.
Early points from Paul McDonagh and Tommy Moran gave the Connecticut lads a lead they seldom threatened to lose.
Brian Martin hit a couple for Stamford, only to witness a Cavan resurgence occur in the image of an on-form Sean Lennon, who snatched a brace for his team. Martin O’Reilly knocked another two shots over the bar for Cavan, followed by a point for Sean Sorohan to give the Ulster men the lead. Stamford’s Cyril Carroll equalized for his side with a well struck point, and Brian Martin banged another home to give his side the slenderest of leads. The scales tipped once more in the early stages of the second period, with the throng at Gaelic Park witnessing an equalizing point from Cavan’s Sean Lennon.
A number of efforts sailed wide of the posts during the second half, with both sides missing opportunities that on a better day they would have made register. With neither side gaining control, and the minutes on the clock disappearing, it became apparent that we may have had a draw on our hands. Stamford’s Damian Potter, however, had other ideas. Clutching a pass from midfield he closed in on the Cavan backline to rifle a shot past Seamus Grimes in the Cavan goal.
A seemingly ordinary challenge on Cavan’s Thomas Brady left the midfielder in serious trouble toward the end of the second half and he had to be stretchered off the pitch. Let’s hope the injury isn’t too serious and we’ll see his talents on display shortly at Gaelic Park, or the division’s normal home, Van Cortlandt Park.
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Brian Martin completed the game’s scoring with a fine point for Stamford to give his side a 4-point lead, and a convincing win this early in the season could prove vital.
Cavan: Seamus Grimes, Eamonn Reid, Michael O’Reilly, Brian Murphy, John McCorr, Barry Dougan, Declan Daly, Sean Lennon (0-3), Thomas Brady, Mike Morris, Vinnie Reilly, Martin O’Reilly (0-2), David Coleman, Cathal O’Shaughnessy, Sean Sorohan (0-1). Subs: Gene O’Reilly, Kevin Fallon, Paul Bennett, Vincent Dennehy, Frank Conway.
Stamford: Johnny Deans, Enda Cox, Noel Connolly, Billy Collins, David Williams, Eamonn Fay, Ciaran Smith, Mike Curtin, Danny Fay, Paul Potter, Brian Martin (0-4), Damian Potter (1-0), Tommy Moran (0-1), Cyril Carroll (0-1), Paul McDonagh (0-1). Subs: Michael Brady, Seamus Costigan, Ollie O’Neill, Brian McKenna.