MARTIN DUNNE produced an exceptional individual display as Cavan deservedly got the better of Armagh by 1-15 to 1-11 in their disappointing Ulster SFC preliminary round tie at Kingspan Breffni Park, yesterday afternoon.
The 24-year-old was making his championship debut and adorned a lively display with nine points over the 70 minutes, eight coming from play, as his side benefited from a solid platform at midfield provided by David Givney and Damien O'Reilly.
While happy to pay tribute to Dunne and his telling contribution, Cavan manager Terry Hyland was quick to make reference to Dunne's team-mates in securing a generous supply of ball into the forward line.
"Martin is a prolific scorer and a finisher and every team needs a finisher," said Hyland. "If you don't have guys who are going to battle and work out the field for the likes of Martin, it doesn't happen for him either," said Hyland.
The visitors counter-attacked well from their first foray into Cavan territory, with Tony Kernan finding the target in the second minute for the game's opening score. But it failed to generate any momentum for Armagh as they struggled in the opening half.
Jamie Clarke was isolated and with little sign of a secondary plan, Armagh struggled against a more mobile Cavan outfit that opened up a lead through scores from Dunne and O'Reilly.
Given their dominance, it was of scant surprise when the hosts found the net in the 22nd minute, as Cian Mackey ran through the middle of a non-existent Armagh defence and finished to help build a 1-6 to 0-4 interval lead.
In the 44th minute, referee Maurice Deegan further undermined Armagh's ambitions when failing to let play run on as Clarke raced through to fire a sublime strike beyond Conor Gilsenan.
However, Armagh began to apply a greater degree of pressure and reduced their arrears through points from Stefan Forker and Mark Shields. Ethan Rafferty's 58th-minute goal failed to launch an Armagh comeback.
LEINSTER SFC ROUND 1
Westmeath 3-15 Carlow 1-10
CONNACHT SFC QUARTER-FINAL
Mayo 4-16 Galway 0-11
CONNACHT JFC FINAL
Sligo 0-15 Mayo 1-11
ULSTER SFC PRELIM ROUND
Cavan 1-15 Armagh 1-11
ULSTER MFC PRELIM ROUND
Cavan 0-13 Armagh 1-9
LEINSTER SHC ROUND 1
Carlow 4-17 London 2-13
Laois 1-16 Antrim 0-13
LEINSTER MHC QUARTER-FINAL
Laois 4-16 Offaly 0-13
Kilkenny 7-16 Kildare 1-9
CHRISTY RING CUP QUARTER-FINALS
Down 3-7 Derry 0-9
Kildare 0-17 Wicklow 2-10
NICKY RACKARD CUP QUARTER-FINAL
Monaghan 5-13 Sligo 2-7
Roscommon 2-14 Louth 0-13
Aisling McGinn U21 Group 1: Galway 5-15 Mayo 4-9. G2: Cork 7-18 Waterford 1-8. G3: Tyrone 3-26 Antrim 3-4. Group 4: Laois 2-17 Meath 3-6, Dublin 1-19 Wexford 1-3.