All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers: Cavan 1-14 Down 0-15

Ryan Johnston
Ryan Johnston was sent off when Down were leading by four points

Cavan limped into Monday's third-round All-Ireland qualifier draw with a two-point win over an ill-disciplined Down.

The Mournemen had forwards Kevin McKernan and Connaire Harrison black carded before Ryan Johnston was sent off midway through the second half.

Keeper Shane Harrison spilled Gearoid McKiernan's effort into his own net for the game's only goal.

Dara McVeety, Conor Moynagh and Anthony Doherty were red carded after the final whistle.

Cian Mackey's second half introduction injected enough pace into Cavan's play to get them over the line but their attacking game lacked direction for large parts of this match.

Down, who lost Caolan Mooney to injury, were left to rue their poor discipline.

While the second period was a turgid and bad-tempered affair, the first half at Brewster Park was an interesting battle with each side on the front foot at various stages.

Accuracy was a feature of the early part of the game with both teams displaying patience in possession and taking their points when a clear opportunity presented itself.

McKiernan cut an imposing figure in the Cavan midfield and his direct running gave the Breffnimen the early advantage as they raced into a four point lead.

Down plot their own demise

The Mournemen battled back to level the scores at seven points each by the 25-minute mark.

It was then that Down's talisman Harrison was shown a black card for an off-the-ball incident only for captain McKernan to be dealt the same fate moments later for a similar offence.

Despite losing two key men the visitors took a two point lead into half time.

Down's kick-out strategy against Donegal in the Ulster semi-final was nothing short of disastrous, but at Brewster Park Glasdrumman keeper Harrison was able to routinely find his midfield and particularly the dangerous Mooney.

Mooney's injury-enforced withdrawal at the start of the second half dealt a further blow to Down but they extended their lead to four points.

Johnston was given his marching orders following a coming together with Niall Murray.

To compound their opponent's misery, Cavan cut the deficit to one shortly after as Harrison fumbled McKiernan's effort into his own net.

Despite routinely slow build-up, Cavan edged ahead as thanks to impressive point scoring from Ciaran Brady and Oisin Kiernan.

The final goal chance of the game fell to O'Hagan, who opted to go for three points as opposed to fisting over the bar and levelling the game.

Farrelly was level to the effort as Cavan booked their place in Monday morning's draw.

Ugly scenes

The game was bad tempered throughout but things came to a head after the final whistle.

Cavan captain Dara McVeety became involved in an angry confrontation with several Down players leading to a melee.

When the dust settled the referee brandished red card to Doherty and Cavan pair McVeety and Moynagh.

Both players will be suspended for the Breffnimen's third round tie next week.

Cavan: J Farrelly; K Brady, P Faulkner, E Flanagan; C Brady (0-2), C Moynagh, M Reilly; S McCormack, B Magee; O Kiernan (0-1), G McKiernan (1-3), N Murray (0-2); C Bradley (0-1), D McVeety (0-1), S Johnston (0-3).

Down: S Harrison; R McAleenan, B McArdle, A Doherty (0-3); D O'Hagan, N McParland, C Mooney; P Turley (0-1), N Donnelly; R Millar (0-4), K McKernan (0-1), C Maginn (0-1); S Dornan (0-2), C Harrison (0-1), R Johnston.

Replacement scorers: N Madine (0-1), D McKibbin (0-1).

All-Ireland SFC qualifiers 2nd round - 23 June
All-Ireland SFC qualifier - 24 June