Mickey Graham admits he will face selection headaches after newcomers play so well against Westmeath.

Graham 'delighted' with victory in league opener

DEBUTS New players help Cavan overcome strong Westmeath team

Westmeath 1-06

Cavan 0-12

"Delighted" was Mickey Graham's understandable reaction after Cavan's launched their Division 3 National League campaign in style.

Despite nursing an extensive injury list, Cavan still had three points to spare over Westmeath in Mullingar yesterday afternoon.

The result was all the more impressive since Westmeath had inflicted Tailteann Cup heartache on Cavan to close last season and had entered this campaign as many pundits' favourites to win the division.

“We’re just delighted to get the two points," enthused Graham. "Obviously Mullingar is a tough place to come as we well know over the years, it’s always a tough battle.

“It wasn’t just straight forward, they came back in the second half, but I’m delighted to get the two points.”

Westmeath went with a strong starting 15 with ten of the starters from the Tailteann cup final lining up for throw-in on Sunday compared to seven on the Cavan side.

Niall Carolan and Tiarnan Madden made their league debuts as starters while Enda Maguire, Brandon Boylan and Jonathan McCabe all made debuts off the bench

Graham said the new faces all “stepped up to the mark", displaying "character and a real good attitude".

The balance of experience and new blood was seemingly well measured by the Cavan management.

“A lot of lads were playing national league football for the first time. It shows you the strength and depth we have.

“We’ve a number of lads returning over the next few weeks and there’s going to be a lot of headaches picking a 26 man squad - but that’s what you want.

“You want lads challenging each other and getting the best out of each other and they know that to stay in the 26 they need to be performing every week.”

Despite playing against the wind in the first half Cavan managed to take a two point lead in at the break which according to the Cavan Gaels club man was part of the play. “To be honest we wanted to be progressive. We didn’t want to sit back and invite Westmeath on to us because we knew they have great lads who can kick scores from long distance.

“So we tried to put as much pressure on as possible higher up the field and I thought the lads worked extremely hard against the wind in the first half to give us that platform to go in to the second half and push on.”

Westmeath took 21 minutes to register their first score of the second half which sparked a maroon scoring spree of a goal and two points on the bounce.

Graham was again “delighted" with his charges' s. Westmeath came back to within a point, the crowd started to get behind them and it was a nervous patch in the game, but then the lads showed a bit of composure to stretch that back out to four points again.

“I thought that was a good characteristic to see in the team. They didn’t panic and they were able to get them score when they were needed. Look we know there’s lots of work to be done and we won’t look any further than Tipperary next week. We always get it tough against them and there’s never much in it so we have to take it one game at a time.”