Cavan 1-15 Armagh 1-11
Martin Dunne laid on a magical display of finishing to fire Cavan to a four points victory over Armagh in an Ulster Football Championship preliminary round tie at Breffni Park.
The Cavan Gaels sharpshooter shot a nine points tally, all but one from play, as Terry Hyland’s men swept to a deserved victory in front of a crowd of 12,556.
All the pre-match talk was of Jamie Clarke, but it was Dunne who stole the show, while the Crossmaglen man was held scoreless by a suffocating double-marking ploy.
Cavan led by seven points early in the second half, but an Ethan Rafferty goal narrowed the gap to a single point.
However, the Orchard were unable to press home the advantage, and were caught by a series of counter-attacks, punished by the in-form Dunne.
Tony Kernan edged the Orchard men into an early lead, but Martin Dunne quickly displayed the threat that he was to pose to a nervous Armagh defence, slotting a couple of points to give his side the lead.
Midfielder Damien O’Reilly was also on target as the home side picked holes in the opposition rearguard
James Lavery and Stephen Harold did garner their share of possession at midfield, but the probing of Tony Kernan and Kevin Dyas came to nothing, their efforts to bring danger man Jamie Clarke into the game totally fruitless
Clarke was double-marked by Jason McLoughlin and Alan Clarke, and failed to make an impact against a well organised Cavan defence.
Nevertheless, Tony Kernan converted a sideline ball and Caolan Rafferty sliced over a wonderful point from wide on the right to give the visitors every chance to believe they could get somethjign from the game.
But they committed too many forward, and paid the price in the form of a classic counter-attack goal in the 22nd minute.
Ronan Flanagan brought the ball out of defence, and transferrfed quickly to Ciaran Mackey, who darted past two defenders and rifled a crisp shot past Philip McEvoy.
Dunne and Niall McDermott both tagged on scores for a four points advantage, and Dunne brought his tally to four for a 1-6 to 0-4 interval lead.
The home side pressed home the advantage in the early stages of the second half, with Eugene Keating, Niall McDermott and Dunne all hitting the target.
Clarke did find a yard of space to blast the ball to the net, but referee Maurice Deegan had already blown his whistle, Stefan Forker despatching the free.
Armagh made the most of a spell of dominance, and a second goal chance followed almost immediately, Ethan Rafferty releasing defender Mark Shields, but he blasted his shot over the bar.
The Orchard men narrowed the gap further with converted frees from Aaron Kernan and Forker, but they were always vulnerable to the counter-attack, and needed an excellent save from Philip McEvoy to deny Keating.
Armagh gained a lifeline in the 58th minute when substitute Ethan Rafferty grabbed a goal, drilling a low shot past Conor Gilsenan to narrow the gap to a single point.
However, they were unable to contain Dunne, who was on fire, and off limited possession, he claimed three more points in the final 10 minutes.
James McEnroe and Keating also hit the target to secure a significant result for the Breffni Blues and a first round clash with Fermanagh.
Cavan: C Gilsenan, J McLoughlin, R Dunne, K Clarke, J McEnroe (0-1), A Clarke, R Flanagan, D O’Reilly (0-1), D Givney, C Mackey (1-0), K Brady, F Flanagan, N McDermott (0-2, 1f), M Dunne (0-9, 1f), E Keating (0-2).
Subs: M Reilly for Brady, J Brady for McDermott, J McCutcheon for O’Reilly, M McKeever for Mackey
Armagh: P McEvoy, P McKeown, D McKenna, M Shields (0-1), A Kernan (0-2, 2f), C McKeever, F Moriarty, J Lavery, S Harold, C Rafferty (0-1), C O’Hanlon, K Dyas, T Kernan 0-2, 1 s/l), J Clarke, S Forker (0-4, 2f).
Subs: E Rafferty (1-0) for Moriarty, B Donaghy for McKenna, J Hanratty for O’Hanlon, E McVerry (0-1) for Forker, G McParland for C Rafferty
Referee: M Deegan (Laois).