Down bring on big guns to halt Dunne masterclass
Down 1-11 Cavan 0-12
A masterclass from Cavan Gaels ace Martin Dunne couldn't prevent Cavan from losing their Dr McKenna Cup opener to Down at Kingspan Breffni Park.
Dunne was the real deal but Down's greater division of labour in the final third proved decisive.
The Mournemen got the perfect start when Paul McComiskey goaled in the fourth minute after impressive target man Connaire Harrison fetched a peach of a long delivery from Aidan Carr. A classy point from Ryan Boyle moments later underpinned Down's turbo-charged start.
Cavan belatedly got up and running with a point in the ninth minute from Gearoid McKiernan.
Down weren't flattered by their 1-3 to 0-1 first-quarter lead, but Cavan hit four unanswered points to draw level, 0-8 to 1-5, at the interval with Dunne notching three on the trot.
McKiernan rattled the crossbar four minutes after the restart, but when Dunne rifled over his eighth point in the 45th minute to put the hosts 0-10 to 1-6 in front, it looked like a home win was on the cards.
However, Down's introduction of some heavy artillery from the bench in the last half hour proved pivotal and the Mournemen hit the final three points for a deserved win.
Scorers – Down: P McComiskey 1-0, C Harrison 0-3, B Coulter, R Kelly (1f), L Doyle (2f) 0-2 each, R Boyle, D Savage (1f) 0-1 each. Cavan: M Dunne 0-9 (3f), G McKiernan 0-3.
Down – M Cunningham; D McCartan, B McArdle, R Boyle; D O'Hagan, G McAnulty, C Garvey; K King, K McKiernan; R Kelly, A Carr, D Savage; C Harrison, P Turley, P McComiskey. Subs: B Coulter for C Garvey (10); M Poland for D McCartan (44); L Doyle for A Carr (43); C Laverty for D Savage (43); O Costello for P Turley (51); A Carr for K King (57).
Cavan – A O'Mara; O Minagh, A Clarke, K Brady; P Reilly, J McCutcheon, D O'Reilly; T Corr, G McKiernan; C Mackey, N McDermott, M McKeever; K Meehan, D McKiernan, M Dunne.
Subs: N Murray for K Meehan (6); O O'Connell for N Murray (41); M Brady for J McCutcheon (64).
Ref – N Cullen (Fermanagh).