Fermanagh 0-11 Cavan 0-13
For the first time since 2005, Cavan have recorded back-to-back championship victories.
They had to call on all their battling qualities to see off a stubborn Fermanagh team at Brewster Park, but in the end deserved the two points victory which sets up an Ulster SFC semi-final clash with Monaghan.
Peter Canavan’s Erne warriors must return to the goldfish bowl and Monday morning’s Qualifier draw to discover where their next adventure will take them, but on the strength of their second half display in Enniskillen, they should feel confident they can extend their summer beyond June 29.
Martin Dunne once again proved himself the Breffni saviour, his two late points, and five in total, steering his side over the finish line at the end of a close encounter.
Cavan’s more direct approach served theem well in the opening stages, and they raced into a three points lead inside the opening five minutes.
Midfielder Damien O’Reilly thumped over the opener, and with Damien O’Reilly and David Givney giving them a foothold in midfield, and their defence putting a hesitant Erne attack under constant pressure, they asserted their authority.
Niall McDermott extended the advantage with a breakaway score, and made it 0-3 to no score from a free soon afterwards.
Cian Mackey, operating effectively in the sweeper role, pushed forward to slot over a fourth Breffni point, and they had a penalty call ignored by referee Cormac Reilly when Eugene Keating appeared to be fouled as a high ball dropped into the danger area.
Fermanagh were laboured in their approach, often carrying the ball blindly into the tackle, and it wasn’t until the 26th minute that they registered their first score.
That was a well taken effort from wide on the right by Ryan Jones, which was quickly followed by a neat point from Tomas Corrigan, with his first touch after coming off the bench.
But Cavan turned the game back in their favour in the closing stages of the half, Eugene Keating thumping over two superb points to send his side in with a 0-7 to 0-3 lead.
But Fermanagh made a flying start to the second half, with Ryan Jones at the heart of a series of penetrating moves, setup up points for midfielder pair Eoin Donnelly and veteran Marty McGrath.
Daniel Kille came off the bench to slot four frees between the posts, and with Eoin Donnelly rising to the challenge with a powerhouse midfield display, the Lakeland county rose to the challenge.
Sean Quigley punched over a point to put the Breffni county under increasing pressure, but they were able to keep their noses in front with scores from Keating and Dunne.
Almost inevitably, however, Kille brought Fermanagh level in the 57th minute, and a thrilling contest was building to a tense climax.
But it was Cavan who were able to find that extra gear in the closing stages. Dunne, who had been well marshalled by John Woods, drifted out wide to slice over a gem, and a free needlessly conceded in stoppage time gave the Cavan Gaels man the opportunity to clinch it and send Cavan through to a last four meeting with Monaghan.
Fermanagh: C Snow, J Woods, B Cox, D Kelly, D McCusker (0-1), R McCluskey, M O’Brien, E Donnelly (0-1), M McGrath (0-1), C Quigley, S McCabe, R Jones (0-1), P Ward, S Quigley (0-1), T McElroy.
Subs: T Corrigan (0-2) for Ward, D Kille (0-4, 4f) for C Quigley, S Lyons for McGrath, B Owens for S Quigley
Cavan: C Gilsenan, J McLoughlin, R Dunne, K Clarke, J McEnroe, A Clarke, R Flanagan, D O’Reilly (0-1), D Givney, C Mackey (0-1), J Brady, F Flanagan, N McDermott (0-2, 1f), M Dunne (0-5, 2f), E Keating (0-3).
Subs: D McKiernan for McEnroe, M Reilly (0-1) for Brady, T Corr for McKiernan, N Murray for McDermott
Referee: C Reilly (Meath)