The Meath footballers squandered an eight-point lead and were beaten by seven in this absorbing NFL Div 2 tie at Pairc Tailteann.
What a transformation there was in this game as the hosts led 1-9 to 0-5 at half-time and were then outscored 1-15 to 0-4 in the second-half.
The recalled Sean Johnson led the line as the Breffni produced probably one of their worst displays throughout the opening 30 minutes and then played some vintage football after that.
Afterwards, manager Terry Hyland said he just told his players at half-time to don’t panic and keep chipping away and eventually the game will come back to you.
“I think our defence tightened up as well,’ Hyland continued. “We had eight or nine very good turnovers in the second half and the lads ran the ball.”
Regarding the display of man of the match Johnson, Hyland explained: “Seanie is a natural finisher and that is why he is there and that’s what we would have said to him before the game.
“We went out to win our first two games and we were very disappointed not to take something out of the Derry game in Kingspan Breffni Park the last day and that put us under a little bit of pressure. But we felt we played better in some of those games than maybe today but we just didn’t get the results”
Eamon Wallace scored the goal as Meath raced into a 1-4 to 0-2 lead after 22 minutes. With Mickey Newman in good form from frees the hosts increased their lead before the break.
Sean Tobin added another but Cavan slowly gained a stranglehold on proceedings.
Keeper Raymond Galligan converted a long range free and when David Givney found the net on 44 minutes it left two points between the teams.
Meath were ragged at that stage and Cavan eventually drew level through Conor Moynagh.
The home side regained the lead momentarily but Johnson levelled and then pointed his side ahead for the first time on 58 minutes.
There was only one team in it after that as Cavan pressed home their superiority and Moynagh, Niall Murray and Dara McVeety shot some super points.
To compound a bad day for the Meath men, keeper Paddy O’Rourke received a straight red card deep into added time.
S Johnson (0-6, 3 frees), D Givney (1-0), D McVeety (0-3), C Moynagh, N Murray, G McKiernan (0-2 each), J McLoughlin, R Galligan (f), T Corr, M Argue, P O’Connor (0-1 each).
E Wallace (1-3), M Newman (0-4, 3 frees), S Tobin (0-3, 2 frees), G Reilly (0-2), D Tobin (0-1).
R Galligan; P Faulkner, K Clarke, J McLoughlin; G McKiernan, C Moynagh, C Brady; T Corr, F Flanagan; D McVeety, D Givney, M Reilly; C Mackey, M Argue, S Johnson.
N Murray for Flanagan (42), K Brady for Reilly (45), P O’Connor for Mackey (56), J Brady for Johnson (68), L Murphy for McLoughlin (70), B Shankey for McKiernan (70).
P O’Rourke; B Power, C McGill, D Keogan; D Smyth, P Harnan, M Burke; H Rooney, G Reilly; E Wallace, C O’Sullivan, D Tobin; S Tobin, M Newman, D Lenihan.
C Finn for Smyth (8), J O’Reilly for Finn (27), A Tormey for Power (51), M Battersby for O’Sullivan (63).
R Hickey (Clare)