at Kingspan Breffni
A magnificent 74th minute point from Conor Madden was the difference between the teams as Mickey Graham's reign as Cavan manager got off to a winning start on Sunday afternoon against Down in the opening round of the McKenna Cup before a crowd of 2,198.
The sides were deadlocked at 0-6 apiece after a drab first half. Down made most of the early running and led by 0-4 to 0-1 after nine minutes before Cavan rallied well in the second quarter.
Niall Murray, Ciaran Brady, Stephen Smith, Ray Galligan (two 45s) and Pierce Smith (free) were the Breffni scorers in the first half, with Pat Havern landing 0-3 for Down.
Galligan made three excellent saves and landed another 45 in a Man of the Match performance.
Cavan moved 0-11 to 0-6 ahead with scores from the lively Simon Cadden, Ciaran Brady, Stephen Smith (free) and Madden but a penalty from Havern dragged Down back into the contest.
Down drew level through Conor McGrady, twice, with Jack Brady pointing at the other end in a tense finale.
Deep in injury time, the home side went in search of the winner and Gowna's Madden was the man who backed himself – wind-assisted, he sent over a massive score from 50 metres and that was that.
See this week's print issue for full report and reaction.
Cavan: Raymond Galligan (0-3, three 45s), Sean O’Connor, Padraig Faulkner, Conor Moynagh, Stephen Murray, Ciaran Brady (0-2), Mark Stuart, Michael Argue, Thomas Galligan, Martin Reilly, Niall Murray (0-1), Simon Cadden (0-1), Pierce Smith (0-1f), Stephen Smith (0-2, 1f), Conor Madden (0-2)
Subs: James Galligan for T Galligan (28 mins), Padraig Moore for P Smith (45), James Smith for Argue (51), Cian Mackey for Reilly (51), Jack Brady (0-1) for Cadden (66)
Down: Rory Burns (0-1f), Kevin McClorey, Ruairi Wells, Ryan McAleenan, Ryan Brady, Brendan McArdle, Ryan Johnston, Aaron McClements (0-1), Daniel McCarthy, David McKibbin, Conor Poland, Conor Francis, Jerome Johnston, Pat Havern (1-3, 1-0 pen, 1f), Rory Mason (0-1f)
Subs: Conor McGrady (0-2) for McKibbin (40 mins), Declan McClements for McClements (44), Shane Annett for Kevin McClorey (47), Cory Quinn for Johnston (55), Ciaran Harney (0-1) for Ryan Brady (57)
Ref: Martin McNally (Monaghan)