Cavan 2-09 Fermanagh 1-14

Fermanagh produced a strong second half display to secure promotion to Division Two with a deserved two-point win over Cavan in Kingspan Breffni Park today.

With Cavan having clinched promotion last week the sides will now meet again next weekend in the Division Three final at Croke Park.

Kieran Donnelly’s side went into the game knowing that they needed to avoid defeat to guarantee a top two spot as a loss would open the door for Offaly but in the end the result did not matter as Down beat the Faithful County in Tullamore.

However, Donnelly will be delighted that his side sealed promotion in their own right by securing the win.

Fermanagh got off to the worst possible start to the game though as Cavan had the ball in the back of the net after only 25 seconds.

James Smith’s attempt at a point came back off the upright and Jonathan McCabe was well placed to palm the ball to the net.

The away side though settled after this early set back and points from Aidan Breen, Darragh McGurn and Ryan Lyons had the sides level by the 11th minute.

Cavan edged back ahead through an Oisin Brady free with McGurn responding with his second point of the contest but with 21 minutes played Cavan bagged their second goal. Midfielder Jack McKenna’s shot from the right dropped short but with Killian Clarke contesting with McGurn and Erne goalkeeper Sean McNally the ball ended up in the net.

Indeed, Cavan had the ball in the net for a third time soon after but on this occasion Brady’s effort was ruled out with referee Thomas Murphy adjudging that the Breffni forward had over-carried.

The sides then shared the final four points of the half with Ultan Kelm, who was a thorn in the Cavan side throughout, landing his first score of the day and Ryan Lyons from a free registering for Fermanagh while Brady knocked over another two frees for the home side.

Right at the end of the first half Fermanagh had a goal chance of their own as Kelm raced in from the left but Cavan goalkeeper Raymond Galligan got down to make the save as the home side went in at the break with a three-point advantage, 2-03 to 0-06.

And that gap was out to five early in the second half when Gearoid McKiernan slotted over a free before then landing Cavan’s first point from play.

There is no shortage of character in this Fermanagh side as they have shown time and again during this campaign and it was there in abundance once more as they clawed their way back.

The experienced Ryan Jones rattled over two good points to get his side up and running in the second half although Brady answered with a converted free for Cavan to leave them four ahead, 2-06 to 0-08, with 20 minutes to go.

Kelm knocked over after a good move before Sean Quigley slotted over after claiming a mark from a Brandon Horan pass.

And with 57 minutes on the clock Fermanagh hit the lead for the first time in the game as Kelm found the net. Conor McShea picked up possession and fed Lyons who played the ball into space in front of Kelm on the right. And he powered forward before driving home from an acute angle to make it 2-06 to 1-10.

Cavan responded with a further Brady free and a fisted point from substitute Ryan O’Neil to get their noses in front once more but Fermanagh were back on level terms with seven minutes to go with Ryan Jones clipping over from the right.

Lyons then put Fermanagh ahead following a patient build up before Kelm brought his tally to 1-03 with a good run and point.

And when Lyons tapped over a free after a foul on Quigley Fermanagh found themselves three points to the good in added on time.

Galligan did step up to slot over a 45 but Cavan couldn’t find the late goal they needed as Fermanagh saw out the remainder of the contest to finish up 2-08 to 1-14 winners.


Cavan: R Galligan (0-01, 1 '45), C Reilly, P Faulkner, N Carolan, C Brady, James Smith, T Madden, J McKenna, K Clarke (1-00), Cian Madden, O Brady (0-05, 5f), J McCabe (1-00), G McKiernan (0-02, 1f), B Boylan, Conor Madden

Subs: S Smith for Cian Madden (ht), C Smith for J McKenna (46), J McLoughlin for C Reilly (52), R O’Neill (0-01) for Conor Madden (59), M Reilly for B Boylan (66), K Brady for N Carolan (temp, 70)

Fermanagh: S McNally, L Cullen, C Cullen, L Flanagan, J Cassidy, S McGullion, Cian McManus, R Jones (0-03), B Horan, J Largo Ellis, R Lyons (0-04, 2f), R McCaffrey, U Kelm (1-03), D McGurn (0-02), A Breen (0-01)

Subs: C McShea for A Breen (46), S Quigley (0-01, 1m) for R McCaffrey (49), C Magee for D McGurn (66), D McCusker for J Largo-Ellis (70), F O’Brien for L Flanagan (39)

Ref: Thomas Murphy (Galway)