Dublin finished their NFL Division One campaign with a spring in their step after easily winning their 'dead rubber' encounter with Cavan.
Only a handful of points might have separated the teams but the hosts' failure to lay a glove on the Dubs did much to scupper their bid to complete a mission impossible.
In front of 7,311 fans at a sun-sprinkled, dry but chilly Kingspan Breffni, the rank outsiders simply failed to rise to the occasion.
Dublin strolled into a double scores (0-8 to 0-4) lead by the 29th minute and looked keen to nab a goal that would have buried any goal Cavan had of upsetting the odds.
The strangely subdued hosts badly needed a tonic. On cue, former Cavan captain Gearoid McKiernan again dropped short an attempt for a point – his fourth such gaff of the first half.
But just as the sighs of the Cavan fans filled the stand, Martin Reilly leaped highest to out-jump Dublin ‘keeper Comerford to palm the ball to the net to cut the visitors’ lead to 0-8 to 1-4 with 31 minutes on the clock.
Cavan led just once in the opening half with McKiernan’s trademark point on the run in the 15th minute giving the Breffni blues the lead by the odd point in five.
Dublin never looked like being cut adrift by the Good Ship Cavan and, instead, they appeared to coast their way through the tie with the words dead and rubber ricocheting around the famed Breffni stand.
Jim Gavin’s men seemed content to go through the gears when needed and it was mainly left to the spring-heeled Dean Rock to punch holes into the fabric of Cavan’s hopes of completing a mission impossible.
Tension took the day off and the only incident of note – save Reilly’s major – in the opening half was when all players bar none exchanged handbags in the 23rd minute. When the dust settled, Dublin pair James McCarthy and Niall Scully plus Cavan’s Conor Rehill and Killian Clarke were yellow carded.
In truth, Cavan failed to really lay a glove on their heavyweight opponent and with the wind to aid them in their consolidation of their 0-8 to 1-4 interval lead, the Ulstermen’s odds of victory lengthened with the fading light.
And even when Killian Clarke finished off a storming 30 metre run with a gem of a point, the word consolation
Then black carding of Conor Moynagh with ten minutes left to play served to add further salt to Cavan’s gaping wound.
It was a super long, tiresome run-in for the deflated Cavan fans. Some meaty post-mortems beckon but for Dublin, it’s all systems go albeit after a less-than-sterling overall campaign.
Cavan scorers: M Reilly (1-3, f); G McKiernan (0-3, 2f)D McVeety (0-f); C Madden (0-1); P Graham (0-1); K Clarke (0-1);
Dublin scorers: B Rock (0-9, 5f); P Mannion (1-3, f); C Kilkenny (0-f); K McManamon (0-1); S Bugler (0-1); C Basquel (0-1)
R Galligan; J McLoughlin, P Faulkner, C Moynagh; G Smith, C Brady, C Rehill; D McVeety, K Clarke; P Graham, G McKiernan, C Conroy; M Reilly, J Galligan, C Madden.
Subs; B Fortune for J McLoughlin (45); Oisin Kiernan for G Smith (49); J Brady for C Madden (48); N Murray for P Graham (52).
E Comerford; D Daly, D Byrne, C O’Connor; B Howard, C O’Sullivan, J McCarthy; M D McCauley, D Gavin; P Flynn, D Rock, N Scully; C Kilkenny, C O’Callaghan, P Mannion.
Subs; S Bugler for N Scully (46); K McManamon for P Flynn (43); S Bugler for N Scully (46); P McMahon for C O’Connor (56); C Basquel for P Mannion (62); B Brogan for M D McCauley (65).
Ref: R Hickey (Clare)