A Martin Reilly first-half double helped Cavan record an opening round McKenna Cup win at Pairc Esler.
Down started brightly and led 0-4 to 0-1 after 11 minutes, but the game turned with Reilly’s two goals in two minutes.Cavan were gifted a penalty for a dubious foul on rookie Paul Smith and Reilly converted it on 30 minutes.
A minute later, Kevin McKernan messed up a short kick-out and the ball was recycled to Reilly who sidestepped the goalkeeper and found the net.
Cavan led 2-4 to 0-6 at the interval and kicked on after the break, landing five unanswered points. Down were awarded a penalty on 43 minutes when Conor Maginn was dragged down by Damien O’Reilly, but Paul Devlin’s shot was brilliantly saved by James Farrelly.
Gearoid McKiernan landed a couple of fine points from long-range during Cavan’s dominant spell in the third quarter. Down failed to score in the second half until Conor Laverty’s goal after 55 minutes.
Scorers for Down: C Laverty 1-1, P Devlin 0-4 (1f, one ‘45’), G Collins, C McKay, A McConville 0-1 each, D O’Hare 0-1 (f)
Scorers for Cavan: M Reilly 2-1 (one pen, 1 ‘45’), B Reilly 0-3 (2f), G McKiernan 0-3, J Brady 0-2 (1f), D McVeety, T Hayes 0-1 each.
DOWN: S Kane; D O’Hagan, L Howard, G Collins; D Turley, N Madine, B McArdle; K Anderson, C McKay; P Devlin, C Maginn, K McKernan; C Laverty, A McConville, D O’Hare.
Subs: C Crilly for Anderson (34), D McKay for C McKay (HT), M Magee for McConville (46), C Garvey for Maginn (51), C McGovern for O’Hare (68)
CAVAN: J Farrelly; J Hayes, R Dunne, J McLoughlin; D McVeety, D O’Reilly, P Smith; G McKiernan, K Clarke; C Conroy, B Reilly, M Reilly; R Flanagan, B Fitzpatrick, J Brady.
Subs: P Tinnelly for Conroy (15), T Hayes (0-1) for Fitzpatrick (26), M McKeever for Tinnelly (45), R Galligan for Farrelly (57), N Murray for Smith (63), D Wright for B Reilly (67).
Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry).