Down finish on a high
Down 1-11 Cavan 0-12:Down’s introduction of some heavy artillery from the bench in the last half-hour proved pivotal as the Mournemen hit the final three points of the game to pip a game Cavan.
Cavan Gaels ace Martin Dunne put in a masterful display but Down’s greater division of labour in the final third proved decisive in deciding a vigorously contested match.
Cavan edged matters on the possession front but a nightmare start allied to their inability to score more than four points in the second half saw them come up short.
Down got the perfect start when Paul Comiskey goaled in the fourth minutes after impressive target man Connaire Harrison fetched a peach of a long delivery from Aidan Carr.
A classy point from corner back Ryan Boyle moments later underpinned Down’s turbo-charged start.
The visitors remained in the box seat in the opening quarter even though Cavan belatedly got up and running with a point from Gearóid McKiernan.
Down were worth 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 after the restart and 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.
DOWN: M Cunningham; D McCartan, B McArdle, R Boyle (0-1); D O’Hagan, G McAnulty, C Garvey; K King, K McKiernan; R Kelly (0-2, one free), A Carr, D Savage (0-1, free); C Harrison (0-3), P Turley, P McComiskey (1-0). Subs; B Coulter (0-2) for C Garvey (10); M Poland for D McCartan (44); L Doyle (0-2, two frees) 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 (0-3); C Mackey, N McDermott, M McKeever; K Meehan, D McKiernan, M Dunne (0-9, three frees). Subs: N Murray for K Meehan (6); O O’Connell for N Murray (41); M Brady for J McCutcheon (64).
Referee: N Cullen (Fermanagh)