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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 19 December, 2018
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Jack is back and Rock points the way as Dublin see off Cavan in league opener

Jim Gavin’s side had seven points to spare in Kingspan Breffni Park.

Updated at 17.00

Dublin 0-18
Cavan 0-11

Fintan O’Toole reports from Kingspan Breffni Park

2015 FOOTBALLER OF the Year Jack McCaffrey returned to action for Dublin today and it was on a successful note as Jim Gavin’s side began their five-in-a-row league title bid on a winning note against Cavan.

Ciaran Brady with Jack McCaffrey Jack McCaffrey back in action for Dublin today against Cavan. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

McCaffrey was one of three late changes before throw-in at Kingspan Breffni Park and he slipped seamlessly back into his customary half-back role after missing last summer’s championship, as Dublin claimed a deserved seven-point victory.

Dean Rock top scored for the All-Ireland champions with 0-7 while newcomer Niall Scully underlined his credentials with a man-of-the-match display as he built on the encouraging form displayed throughout January’s O’Byrne Cup winning campaign.

A massive crowd of 16,331 spectators packed into Kingspan Breffni Park to witness Cavan’s return to the top tier of league football.

New manager Mattie McGleenan saw his team produce a gutsy display with Seanie Johnston bagging 0-5 for Cavan.

But Dublin’s scoring power took them clear by 0-10 to 0-7 at the interval and they improved that position to be in control on the scoreboard during the second half.

The February sunshine greeted the All-Ireland champions, many of whom were making their first outing of 2017 after an experimental Dublin outfit lined out in the O’Byrne Cup.

The throw-in was delayed though due to the tailbacks approaching the Cavan town venue with Dublin handing starts to McCaffrey, Scully and Jason Whelan before throw-in.

Cavan were bright and competitive in the opening exchanges. Niall McDermott and Johnston were focal points for their attacking play with Johnston whipping over a stunning point in the 20th minute that pushed them ahead 0-5 to 0-4.

A view of the large crowd in Breffni Park 16,331 in attendance in Kingspan Breffni Park this afternoon. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Yet Dublin demonstrated their authority then with five points on the spin courtesy of Whelan, Ciaran Kilkenny, Scully, McCaffrey and Rock. Cavan pulled a couple of points back yet Dublin were good value for that 0-10 to 0-7 interval advantage.

Dublin hit full speed again after half-time, stringing together a series of points to push clear by 0-14 to 0-8 when Scully struck over a stylish score in the 47th minute.

Fergal Reilly with Paul Mannion Paul Mannion and Fergal Reilly both hit the deck. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

The Cavan faithful were energised when points by Johnston and substitute Conor Madden cut the deficit to four – 0-14 to 0-10 – but that was as close as they got. Dublin closed out the match in a style that’s become familiar and stretched their unbeaten league and championship run to 30 games.

Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock 0-7 (0-6f), James McCarthy, Niall Scully 0-2 each, Brian Fenton, Michael Darragh MacAuley, Ciaran Kilkenny, Kevin McManamon, Cormac Costello (0-1f), Jack McCaffrey, Jason Whelan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cavan: Seanie Johnston 0-5 (0-2f), Niall McDermott (0-2f), Gerard Smith 0-2 each, John McCutcheon, Conor Madden 0-1 each.

Dublin

1. Stephen Cluxton (Parnells)

2. Michael Fitzsimons (Cuala)
7. Eric Lowndes (St Peregrine’s)
3. Philly McMahon (Ballymun Kickhams)

5. James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams)
6. John Small (Ballymun Kickhams)
19. Jack McCaffrey (Clontarf)

8. Michael Darragh MacAuley (Ballyboden St Enda’s)
9. Brian Fenton (Raheny)

26. Jason Whelan (Ballymun Kickhams)
10. Ciaran Kilkenny (Castleknock)
25. Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge-Street)

12. Paul Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes)
11. Kevin McManamon (St Jude’s)
13. Dean Rock (Ballymun Kickhams)

Subs

15. Cormac Costello (Whitehall Colmcille) for McManamon (42)
17. Colm Basquel (Ballyboden St-Enda’s) for Whelan (45)
14. Eoghan O’Gara (Templeogue Synge-Street) for Mannion (55)
4. David Byrne (Naomh Olaf) for Fitzsimons (58)
24. Ciaran Reddin (St Maur’s) for MacAuley (62)
21. Conor McHugh (Na Fianna) for Rock (69)

Cavan

1. James Farrelly (Kingscourt)

4. Killian Brady (Mullahoran)
9. Rory Dunne (Redhills)
2. Fergal Reilly (Castlerahan)

10. Ciarán Brady (Arvagh)
6. Conor Moynagh (Drumgoon)
3. Padraig Faulkner (Kingscourt)

7. John McCutcheon (Cootehill Celtic)
8. Killian Clarke (Shercock)

11. Dara McVeety (Crosserlough)
12. Gerard Smith (Lavey)
5. Martin Reilly (Killygarry)

13. Niall Clerkin (Shercock)
14. Niall McDermott (Ballinagh)
15. Sean Johnston (Cavan Gaels)

Subs

18. Stephen Murray (Cavan Gaels) for Brady (half-time)
23. Paul O’Connor (Cavan Gaels) for McDermott (half-time)
26. Gearoid McKiernan (Swanlinbar) for Dunne (42)
22. Conor Madden (Gowna) for Moynagh (47)
24. Niall McKiernan (Lacken) for Clerkin (60)
19. Shane O’Rourke for Madden (65)

Referee: Padraig O’Sullivan (Kerry)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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