Cavan 1-14 Down 2-10

Only a point separated Cavan and Down in the Ulster Senior Football Championship quarter-final at Casement Park this afternoon, with Cavan emerging the victors. It is Cavan’s first win in three years and based on their second-half performance they deserve their semi-final shot against Monaghan or Fermanagh.

They didn't have it all their own way however. Classy play from the Down forwards during the opening quarter saw them pressure the Cavan back-line and their dominance was epitomised by Michael Walsh's goal in the 19th minute. However, Cavan remained in touch in the game and just before the break, man-of-the-match Dermot McCabe put Jason Reilly through for a timely and crucial goal.

At the interval, Cavan were leading 1-8 to 1-4 so it was time for Mickey Linden to enter and he marked his apperance with a goal in the 43rd minute, which brought Down back to within a point of their battling opponents. Two minutes later, Peter Reilly had a penalty pushed over the bar by Mickey McVeigh who made several wonderful second-half saves. Cavan were in top gear by this stage and they added three more points to go four up with six minutes remaining. Down clawed three points back in the closing minutes but it wasn’t enough and Cavan held on for victory.

Afterwards, Cavan manager Val Andrews admitted that his side were somewhat fortunate to have set themselves up with a crack at the semi-finals. "A win is a win but we still have a lot to do and a lot to work on. Obviously, the number of missed chances we had today was unsatisfactory but we created them, I suppose and that is a good thing. All praise to the lads, I am delighted for the debutants and their families, and for Cavan in general for getting through the first round."

"There was a bit of luck in the end and, in fairness to Down, they competed all the way through and it wouldn't have been a big surprise if they had gotten a drawn game out of it but we were lucky enough to hold on and sometimes its better to be lucky rather than good," he added.

Meanwhile, in the Ulster Minor Championship quarter-final, Cavan beat Down 4-13 to 0-08.

Filed by Amanda Fennelly