The full-forward was double-marked in the first half yet still managed three points from play.
The decider will also be played in Enniskillen, the ground where many of the current Cavan players beat Tyrone in two Ulster U21 finals in 2011 and 2012.
Cup holders Tyrone will be hot favourites to extend their dominance in the competition but manager Terry Hyland claimed: “It’s not bonus territory for us. We want to win everything we play in and the McKenna Cup is the year’s first competition, so please God we will come out on top against Tyrone.”
Monaghan took the early advantage with a Dermot Malone goal but failed to score for 15 minutes during the first-half, during which time Cavan racked up four points without reply and led 0-9 to 1-5 at the break.
Monaghan went 13 minutes without a score in the second half.
The game was still in the melting pot, with Monaghan a point down, when Dessie Mone was dismissed after the umpires alerted referee Ciarán Branagan to an off-the-ball incident in the 56th minute.
Monaghan’s Malachy O’Rourke had no complaints about the defeat.
“Maybe you don’t learn as much as when it’s a right game so we have learned plenty now and it’s a case of warming up for the league,” he said.
Scorers for Cavan: E Keating (0-6), T Mooney, P Tinnelly, N McDermott (1f) (0-2 each), M Dunne (f), D Givney, M Lyng, K Tierney (0-1 each).
Scorers for Monaghan: D Malone (1-1), R Beggan (1f, 1 45), J McCarron (2fs), C McGuinness (1f) (0-2 each), C Boyle, S Carey (0-1 each).
CAVAN: C Gilsenan; J Hayes, R Dunne, K Brady; P Tinnelly, A Clarke, J McEnroe; T Mooney, D Givney; C Mackey, M Lyng, M Reilly; N McDermott, E Keating, K Tierney.
Subs: N Smith for Tinnelly (48), M Dunne for McDermott (61), N Murray for Tierney (65), D McKiernan for Mooney (67), P Leddy for Lyng (69), R Maloney-Derham for Reilly (70).
MONAGHAN: R Beggan; F Kelly, K Duffy, C Boyle; D Mone, V Corey, C Galligan; G Doogan, P Finlay; P Donaghy, S Gallogly, P Keenan; J McCarron, C McGuinness, D Malone. Subs: D Clerkin for Doogan (ht), C Walshe for Duffy (51), R Wylie for Galligan (51), K O’Connell for Mone (bc, 56), S Carey for Gallogly (56), M McElroy for Walshe (bc, 67).
Referee: Ciarán Branagan