Donal O’Hare goal decisive as Down inflict first defeat on Cavan
Ronan Flanagan red card reduced Cavan to 14 for final 20 minutes
Donal O’Hare: found net after flowing move
Cavan 0-8 A brilliantly-engineered goal just after the hour mark left Cavan nursing their first league defeat of the season. In front of 2,493 fans in Siberian-like conditions at Kingspan/Breffni Park, Down set the pace for most of the game against a Cavan side reduced to 14 men for the final 20 minutes.
Down seemed to cope better with the sodden pitch made even more slippery by torrential rain with man-of-the-match Donal O’Hare’s three points easing his side into a 0-4 to 0-1 opening quarter lead.
Sadly, in what was a non-descript opening half, the weather was the clear winner, although Down were clearly the happier side going in ahead by 0-6 to 0-3 at the interval.
Cavan were a more potent, purposeful side on the restart and an inspirational point from corner back Jason McLoughlin (41) helped draw the hosts level, 0-6 apiece, at the three-quarter hour mark.
Two excellent points from play, though, by defender Damien Turley and former All-Star Kevin McKernan served to restore a lead for Down that they would never relinquish thereafter.
Disaster struck for Cavan when in-form defender Ronan Flanagan received his second yellow card (54 minutes) before O’Hare made it a double whammy by finding the net in the 63rd minute after an excellent move involving Arthur McConville and Mark Poland.
CAVAN: C Gilsenan; J McLoughlin (0-1), R Dunne, K Brady; R Flanagan, F Flanagan, D O’Reilly; K Clarke, G McKiernan; P Smith, D McVeety, M Reilly (0-2, 2 frees) M Lyng, M Dunne (0-1), N McDermott (0-4, frees) . Subs : B Reilly for M Lyng (47); N Murray for P Smith (52); C Mackey for D McVeety (68); B Fitzpatrick for M Reilly (68).
DOWN: K Gordon; D O’Hagan, L Howard (0-1), D Turley (0-1); P Devlin, N Madine, C McGovern; B McArdle, P Turley; J Johnston, K McKernan (0-2), D O’Hanlon (0-1, 1 free); M Poland, C Laverty, D O’Hare (1-3, 2 frees). Subs; R Boyle for B McArdle (inj, 8); G Collins for D O’Hagan (inj, 22); C Garvey for N Madine (44); A McConville for J Johnston (57)
Referee: P Hughes (Armagh)