Down boss sent to stands in damaging defeat to Cavan
Cavan 0-17 Down 0-14
Down manager Eamonn Burns was sent to the stands for the second half of this Division 2 league tie at Kingspan Breffni as his side suffered a damaging defeat to table leaders Cavan.
In an entertaining match, late scores from substitute Seanie Johnston, Dara McVeety, Raymond Gallligan and Conor Bradley saw the home team pull clear.
Burns was sent to stands by referee Padraig O’Sullivan after an incident just before the interval when he appeared to get involved with one of the Cavan mentors. The incident raised tension as the players were leaving the field but the match was free of spite and played in good spirits.
The win sees Cavan, unbeaten this season, move a step closer to an instant return to the top tier. Gearoid McKieran, who scored four points from play, was a monumental influence. They also had a huge contribution from the bench with Bradley and Cian Mackey both kicking two points and Johnston another. Down simply did not have the same depth but they were wasteful and missed four good goalscoring chances.
Down took a slender one-point lead into the interval, an injury-time free, won and covered by Donal O’Hare leaving them 0-7 to 0-6 in front. The early running came from Cavan who went in front through the impressive McKiernan in the fourth minute and were two ahead when Stephen Murray had a goal chance blocked five minutes in.
Then they went off the boil, failing to score for 15 minutes, during which time Down had the better of the play but were let down by some poor finishing. Conal Harrison, back after suspension, cased problems for the Cavan full back line and O'Hare was always busy but they could have had more on the scoreboard.
Having gone 15 minutes without scoring in the first half, Cavan hit a good spell with points from Caoimhin O’Reilly, McKiernan and Bryan Magee, a free, to nose them back in front approaching half time, before's late points from Ryan Johnston and O’Hare saw the lead changed hands once more.
The second half saw the standard of football rise and Cavan head into their final two matches well placed to return to Division 1. Down, who escaped relegation last season in injury-time on the final day, face another fight for survival.
Scorers: Cavan - G McKiernan 0-4, C O’Reilly 0-3 (2 fs), C Mackey, C Bradley 0-2, B Magee (f), C Moynagh, O Kiernan, S Johnston, D McVeety, R Galligan (45) 0-1 0-1. Down - D O’Hare 0-4 (1 lb, 2 f), C Harrison 0-3 (1 f), A Doherty 0-2 ( 2fs), R Johnston, S Millar, C Mooney, K McKernan, R Wells 0-1.
Cavan: R Galligan; Conor Brady, P Faulkner, Jason McLoughlin; S Murray, Ciaran Brady, E Flanagan; G McKiernan, B Magee; O Kiernan, C Moynagh, M Reilly; N Clerkin, D McVeety, C O’Reilly.
Subs: C Mackey for Conor Brady (25 mins); A Cole for Clerkin (half-time); C Bradley for Moynagh (45); S Johnston for Flanagan (64); K CLarke for Murray (67).
Down: M Reid; C Flanagan, B McArdle, A Doherty; R Wells, N McParland, C Mooney; P Turley, N Donnelly; S Millar, C Maginn, R Johnston; D O’Hare, C Francis. C Harrison.
Subs: K McKernan for Francis (45 mins); D McKibbin for Millar (inj 55); C Poland for Donnelly (60); R Millar for O’Hare (68).
Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry).