By Damian Dolan
At McGovern Park, Ruislip
An opportunity missed for the Exiles at McGovern Park on Saturday after Denis Connolly’s second half goal looked to have given London the perfect springboard to push on for a first win of this year’s Gaelic Masters series.
Connolly struck 12 minutes from time to see the home side lead by the minimum, but Cavan kept their composure to edge back in front in injury-time, and deny London a first victory in the competition since beating Roscommon in 2017.
After defeat to Galway in Round 1 (Cavan also lost their opener to Tyrone), London had earlier seen the visitors rush into a three-point lead.
London weren’t as accurate in front of goal with both Connolly and Mort Reidy both missing frees.
Connolly got London on the board from Paddy Donaghy’s deft lay-off, and having been slow to settle the home side were beginning to click.
Niall O’Shea pointed after been set up by captain Damien McKenna. McKenna missed with a free, but immediately made amends with a peach of a ball to pick out Noel Dunning, and he squeezed his shot past Brian Boylan.
London then suffered a blow as they lost McKenna to a black card, and that was compounded by gifting Cavan cheap possession in defence, from which Euric Reilly teed up Ollie Ward to goal from close range.
It was another soft goal conceded by London, to add to the one they presented to Galway, and again it came soon after the Exiles had found the net at the other end.
Connolly closed out the first half scoring with Cavan leading by 1-5 to 1-3.
The introduction of Stephen Lynch went a long way to eradicating London’s freetaking problems.
The home side were playing some good football, but their final ball was letting them down, allowing Cavan to open up a three-point lead (1-7 to 1-4).
A Lynch free reduced the gap and then a nice London move saw them with men over. Niall Quinn picked out Connolly in front of goal, and he showed good composure to beat Boylan.
It was up for grabs now. But London couldn’t build on Conolly’s goal and with five minutes to go Cavan had edged back in front by virtue of two unanswered scores.
Lynch levelled things up again with three minutes remaining, but frees from Barry McGovern and Tommy Maguire proved enough to see Cavan over the line. Chris Byrne’s last-gasp score came too late.
The Exiles will continue their search for their first win of 2019 when they travel to Westmeath on 1 June.
Cavan: Brian Boylan; Cathal Buggy, Pauric Sheridan, Ollie Costello; Jerome Kiernan, Terry Smith, Niall Lynch; Christy Shiels, Bernard Young; Michael Clynch, Ronan Kiernan, Philip Monaghan; Euric Reilly (0-2, 1f), Tommy Maguire (0-4, 2f), Barry McGovern (0-2). Subs: Mick Doherty (0-2), Art McSeain, Mark Rehill, Ollie Ward (1-1, 1f), Raymond Brady, Gabriel Patterson, Jimmy Galligan, Paddy Reilly.
London: Brian McBrearty; David Cannon, Darren Howlin, Keith Geraghty; Paddy Donaghy, Chris Byrne (0-1), Connor Moyne; Damian McKenna, Paul McDermott; Denis Connolly (1-2), Mort Reidy, Niall Quinn; Vinny Sullivan, Niall O’Shea (0-1), Noel Dunning (1-0). Subs: Noel Burke, Stephen Lynch (0-3f), David Igoe, John Reddington, Gerry Rowley, Aidan Dillane, Martin Hession, Connor McStravic, Brendan Boyle, Ken Hayes, Tim Slattery, Eddy McGaughan, Noel Furlong, Mick Gordon.
Referee: Gavin Dixon.