Murphy proves scene-stealer in cameo role
Michael Murphy's cameo proved pivotal as Donegal beat hosts Cavan at Kingspan/Breffni Park in their Dr McKenna Cup opener on Saturday.
The Glenswilly giant added to his growing reputation by coming on as a second-half sub and notching the insurance point in the 72nd minute to give the holders the perfect start to their defence.
Murphy was just one of seven Donegal players to score while Cavan's reliance on Dublin-based Oliver Plunketts clubman Gareth Smith was all too evident.
Smith converted four first-half frees as Cavan led at half-time by the odd point in seven but that was as good as it got for the Breffnimen.
Three unanswered points from Darragh Gallagher, Murphy and Gareth Concarr either side of the third-quarter juncture left Donegal 0-9 to 0-6 up with 53 minutes gone.
Cavan boss Tommy Carr included 19 newcomers in his new panel and the hosts' lack of cohesion and a dearth of fluidity in their play let Donegal off the hook at times.
The home side engineered two decent goal chances in the second half but Niall Madden shot wide on 54 minutes and Conor Smith fired straight at Donegal 'keeper Lee McFadden in the 69th minute.
Cavan continued to battle late on but after yet another converted free by Smith, Murphy sealed Donegal's win with a classy long-range effort.
Scorers -- Donegal: G Concarr 0-3 (2f), M Murphy, C McFadden 0-2 each, K Cassidy, R Wherity, A Hanlon, D Gallagher 0-1 each. Cavan: G Smith 0-7, (6f), M Cahill, E McGuigan 0-1 each.
Donegal -- L McFadden; J Keeney, N McGee, P McDaid; F McGlynn, B Monaghan, K Cassidy; N Gallagher, E Kelly; O Doherty, C McFadden, R Wherity; G Concarr, A Hanlon, D Walsh.
Subs: M Murphy for O Doherty, D Gallagher for R Wherity.
Cavan -- F Reilly; M Hannon, T Corr, E McPhillips; D O'Dowd, J McCutcheon, M Cahill; N Walsh, E McGuigan; A Clarke, G Smith, M McKeever; J McCabe, E O'Reilly, C Smith. Subs: N Madden for J McCabe; D Thomas for E O'Reilly.
Ref -- G McCarron (Monaghan).