Apart from a brief spell early in the second half when they scored three points without reply and wasted two goal chances, Tipperary played second fiddle for most of this disappointing tie, which drew an attendance of only 300 spectators.
Tipperary were far too reliant on Declan Browne for scores and Cavan clearly saw him as the main danger by giving corner back Michael Hannon a man-marking brief from the first whistle.
The fact that Browne never threatened underlines how well Hannon did his job. But the best player on view was at the other end, with corner forward Sean Johnson finishing with five points from play, before being unluckily yellow carded late in the game.
Tipperary were also in trouble at midfield, where neither Eamon Hanrahan or Kevin Mulryan could make any impression on the Cavan pair, Patrick Brady and Pierce McKenna.
Cavan’s almost total control of that area meant a plentiful supply of ball into the forwards and they made maximum use of it storming into a 1-8 to no score lead after 25 minutes.
The use of the long ball was seen to great effect in the 17th minute when Sean Johnson picked out Jason Reilly who billowed the net from close range.
The one spark of hope Tipperary can take from this game was the excellent form of Brian Lacey who was introduced four minutes from half time for his first outing in the blue and gold jersey in six years. The ex-Kildare star added a bit of steel around midfield as his colleagues responded with two late points to retire 1-8 to 0-2 behind at the break.
The home side added three points on the turnover to reduce the deficit to six points with fifteen minutes remaining. Indeed the third of those points should have been a goal but Damien Byrne couldn’t keep his shot down after Lacey left him with just the Cavan ‘keeper to beat.
It proved costly for Tipperary and Cavan, who were forced to play without Johnson for the last 20 minutes, took control again, principally due to the excellence of Peter Reilly at centre back, Patrick Brady at midfield and Michael Lyng at centre forward.
Despite their dominance, Cavan could only add two further points to their first half tally, and that was principally due to some great defending by Robbie Costigan and Bernard Hahessy.
Cavan boss Eamon Coleman made light of the poor second half display, insisting: “We got what we came for When a team dominates a game like we did in the first half it’s never easy to keep up the momentum.
“I thought we coped very well with the threat of Declan Browne. Michael Hannon did a great making job on him and along with controlling midfield, they are the two principal reasons why we won the game.”
Tipp coach Seamus McCarthy said his side’s first half display was very disappointing and they were always chasing the game after that.
“Our second half display was much more encouraging and had the two goal chances being converted who knows how the game would have ended. We are miles behind in the fitness stakes, but I was never under any illusions about the magnitude of the job when I took it on.”
Scorers for Cavan: S. Johnson 0-5; J. Reilly 1-1; S. Brady, A. Forde, M. Lyng, M. McKeever (free) 0-1 each.
Tipperary: D. Browne (0-1 free) 0-2; I. Barnes, G. Burke, D. Byrne 0-1 each.
CAVAN: J. Reilly; C. Hannon, M. Hannon, K. Fennin; Paul Brady, P. Reilly, A. Gaynor; Patrick Brady, P. McKenna; M. McKeever, M. Lyng, S. Brady; S. Johnson, J. Reilly, A. Forde.
Subs: M. Cahill for Fannin; L. Reilly for S. Brady; S. Cole for McKeever. M. Graham for Johnson (off, yellow card).
TIPPERARY: B. Enright; D. Byrne, N. Curran, P. King; P. Morrissey, R. Costigan, B. Hahessy; K. Mulryan, E. Hanrahan; A. Fitzgerald, G. Burke, P. Cahill; D. Browne, J., Shanahan, I. Barnes.
Subs: B. Lacey for Mulryan; L. England for Shanahan; P. O’Flaherty for Morrissey (off, yellow card); S. Collum for King (off, yellow card); N. Kelly for Curran (off, yellow card).
Referee: E. Whelan (Laois).