at Kingspan Breffni
Dublin stepped on the gas when it was needed to condemn Cavan to a sixth defeat in this Division 1 campaign at a sunny Kingspan Breffni.
Before a crowd of 7,311, the away side were deserving winners, going about their job with a minimum of fuss as they quashed what were very faint home hopes of surviving the drop.
After a slow-burner of a first half, Dublin led by the minimum. Jim Gavin’s men looked comfortable when they eased into a 0-8 to 0-4 lead in the 29th minute but a trademark fisted goal from Martin Reilly cut the gap to one and Cavan were unlucky not to go in level.
Dean Rock – who raised six white flags in the first half – opened the scoring with a free which was quickly cancelled out by a mark from Dara McVeety.
Rock tapped over another free before Chris Conroy ghosted into space to level matters and Cavan hit the front for the first time when Gearoid McKiernan swung in a super point from the left wing.
The Dubs, though, would kick five of the next six to put some daylight between the sides. From a quick break, Rock blasted over the bar when a goal was on.
The Ballymun man quickly added three more - one from play, a mark and a free – before tempers frayed. A flashpoint in front of the stand saw at least a dozen players pile in and saw four yellow cards handed out, two to each side.
Paul Mannion added a sweet strike as Dublin continued to hold the hosts at arm’s length. Cavan hit back through Conor Madden but another free from Rock ledt it at double scores.
And then came Cavan’s goal, Reilly rising to beat Evan Comerford in the air and flick home after McKiernan’s delivery.
The Blues could have hit the front, too, with a Martin Reilly ‘point’ waved wide (one umpire signalled for a score) and McVeety hitting the upright from a tight angle.
Cavan levelled on the resumption with a mark from Reilly and Mickey Graham’s charges pushed up as they searched for a second win in this campaign.
Dublin, though, always seemed to have another gear in reserve. Veteran Reilly and Kilkenny traded points before the defining score of the contest arrived in the 43rd minute.
A mishit shot from Rock dropped short and Mannion pounced, grabbing possession and coolly rattling the net to make it 1-9 to 1-6.
And from there, the visitors turned the screw. A point from sub Kevin McManamon and two from Rock (one free) put six between them and more or less put the result beyond doubt.
Cavan had some bright moments in the closing stages, Paul Graham and Killian Clarke registering eye-catching points but Dublin’s lead was never really threatened and they eased home, with Colm Basquel adding the final score.
Cavan: R Galligan, J McLoughlin, P Faulkner, C Moynagh, G Smith, Conor Brady, C Rehill, D McVeety, K Clarke, P Graham, G McKiernan, C Conroy, M Reilly, J Galligan, C Madden
Subs: B Fortune for McLoughlin (46 mins), J Brady for Madden (49), N Murray for Graham (52), S Murray for Conroy (63)
Dublin: E Comerford, D Daly, D Byrne, C O’Connor, B Howard, C O’Sullivan, J McCarthy, MD Macauley, D Gavin, P Flynn, D Rock, N Scully, C Kilkenny (0-1m), C O’Callaghan, P Mannion (1-3, 1m)
Subs: K McManamon (0-1) for Flynn (43 mins), S Bugler (0-1) for Scully (48), O Kiernan for Smith (50), P McMahon for O’Connor (55), C Basquel (0-1) for Mannion (62), B Brogan for Macauley (65)
Ref: R Hickey (Clare)