Conor Madden’s fourth minute of injury-time point got Mickey Graham’s reign got off to a winning start with a one-point victory over Down in the first round of the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup.
Cavan had trailed early in the first half before eventually fighting back to level the game at six points apiece, although Graham new side nearly blew a five point lead.
At half-time, the sides were dead-locked at 0-06 apiece, but it was the Mourne men who had made the brighter start to the contest.
Rory Mason, Aaron McClements, Rory Burns and Pat Havern gave the visitors the early advantage before the home side reeled off five of the final seven scores of the half.
Goalkeeper Raymond Galligan knocked over two frees and Pierce Smith also raised a white flag after spending time in the sin bin for a black card.
Galligan moved up field to score from play after the break, while a Madden score in the 54th minute gave Graham’s side into a five-point lead.
Down fought their way back into the game with a Pat Havern penalty two minutes later brought Down right back into it.
Ciaran Harney reduced the gap to the bare minimum as both sides exchanged wides. Down’s Conor McGrady levelled matters yet again mid-way through the five minutes of additional time before Madden secured the one point win, 0-13 to 1-9.
Cavan Scorers: Raymond Galligan 0-3 2f, Ciaran Brady 0-2 2f, Stephen Smith, Conor Madden both 0-2, Niall Murray, Pierce Smith 1f, Jack Brady all 0-1
— Official Cavan GAA (@CavanCoBoardGaa) December 30, 2018