Donegal far too good for Cavan with Michael Murphy the chief tormentor
Donegal 2-20 Cavan 1-15
Donegal have safely negotiated Ulster's preliminary football championship round with a comprehensive win over a disappointing Cavan side.
Inspired by creator-in-chief Michael Murphy, the home side never looked in trouble as they extended their unbeaten sequence in Ballybofey that dates back to 2010.
Murphy pulled all the strings through the middle with clever direction of the play throughout.
Donegal got a firm first half platform and while they dipped before half-time and again entering the last quarter, they finished strong with Patrick McBrearty finally getting free to score four points and substitute Cian Mulligan grabbing a goal.
Cavan had started well and led by 0-3 to 0-1 by the seventh minute but with a series of long range scores Donegal edged ahead by 0-4 to 0-3 on 13 minutes.
Killian Clarke's run for Caoimhin O'Reilly's goal should have been halted at source but the Shercock man was allowed to gather momentum and slipped a perfect pass to his colleague for a 1-3 to 0-4 lead on 15 minutes.
But Donegal stepped it up after that with Murphy, Michael Langan and Ciaran Thompson sending over superb points from a range of distances.
When a Murphy 45 dropped short on 23 minutes Ryan McHugh pounced with the hand to bat home a goal for a 1-7 to 1-3 lead on 23 minutes.
The lead was out to seven at one stage before Cavan pulled it back, Gearoid McKiernan scoring their first since the goal 16 minutes earlier. Further points from Niall Murray and McKiernan again gave them a lifeline.
Donegal's 1-10 first half tally was all from play but McBrearty failed to score. He did however have two gilt-edged goal chances saved by Cavan goalkeeper Raymond Galligan.
Donegal hit the first six points of the second half to build on their 1-10 to 1-6 lead and with a 10-point advantage, Cavan thoughts were already turned to qualifiers.
To his credit, Gearoid McKiernan brought great resistance while substitute Adrian Cole made an impact but this was not what would have been expected from a team that will feature in Division One of the league next year.
Scorers - Donegal: M Murphy 0-6 (3fs), P McBrearty 0-4, C Thompson, M Langan 0-3 each, C Mulligan, R McHugh 1-0 each, J Brennan 0-2, L McLoone, C Ward 0-1 each.
Cavan: G MCKiernan 0-7 (2fs), C O'Reilly 1-3 (0-3fs), C Mackey 0-2 (2fs), N Murray, B Magee, N Murray all 0-1 each.
Donegal: S Patton; EB Gallagher, N McGee, F McGlynn; S McMenamin, P Brennan, C Ward; H McFadden, M Murphy; L McLoone, R McHugh, C Thompson; P McBrearty, M Langan, J Brennan. Subs: C McGinley for Thompson (52), E Doherty for McMenamin (57), C Mulligan for McHugh (60), M McHugh for McGlynn (64), S McBrearty for J Brennan (67), C McGonagle for Langan (70).
Cavan: R Galligan; J McLoughlin, P Faulkner, K Brady; N Murray, C Brady, C Moynagh; K Clarke, B Magee; C Mackey, G McKiernan, O Kiernan; C O'Reilly, E Flanagan, C Bradley. Subs: F Reilly for K Brady (22), N Clerkin for Murray (h-t), A Cole for Magee (43),M Reilly for O'Reilly (44), D McVeety for Flanagan (52), R Connolly for Bradley (70)
Referee: David Gough (Meath)