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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Paul Keane

Cavan finish strongly as revenge over Fermanagh seals league title

Cavan 0-16 Fermanagh 1-7

Revenge was sweet for Cavan who overcame Fermanagh at the second, and most important, time of asking.

Six days after losing to the Ernesiders who finished top of the Division 3 table, Cavan ultimately stole the league title with a solid final performance at Croke Park.

It wasn't anything that will send their provincial championship rivals into hiding but it was a deserved six-point win all the same.

READ MORE: Sligo captain pays heartfelt tribute to Red Og Murphy after title triumph

Trailing at half-time, Cavan followed a similar script to the Division 4 final winners Sligo by turning on the afterburners in the third quarter.

They struck six of the seven points in that third quarter to take the lead and added another five points late on to seal it.

Cavan didn't score any goals but it wasn't for a lack of effort with Fermanagh goalkeeper Sean McNally pulling off a number of excellent saves in that second-half.

Cavan goalkeeper Raymond Galligan impressed too, finishing as the game's top scorer with four points, all from placed balls.

The win sets Cavan up nicely to attack the Ulster SFC with an April 22 tie against Armagh or Antrim on the horizon.

As for Fermanagh, who topped Division 3, they will play provincial title holders Derry in Enniskillen on April 15.

Breffni boss Mickey Graham restored key quartet Dara McVeety, Gerard Smith, Paddy Lynch and Ryan O'Neill to his lineup - adding vital punch and experience.

All four were left out of the team against Fermanagh last weekend, suggesting Graham viewed this encounter as the crucial one to win with silverware on the line.

Lynch showed moments of excellence, like chipping the ball up on the run with his right foot before kicking it over the bar wth his left foot for his third point.

But that sort of magic was largely missing in the first-half with Fermanagh edging a low scoring encounter 1-3 to 0-5 at the break.

Fermanagh's Luke Flanagan did brilliantly out on the right wing with a clever ball across the Cavan danger area for Darragh McGurn's 27th minute goal.

McGurn still had a bit to do but kept his composure well and cut back inside Clarke before slotting a low shot to the net.

The three-pointer propelled Fermanagh into the lead for the first time, 1-2 to 0-4.

Lynch's point on the counter attack for Cavan, when he collected the ball with a neat chip flick, tied it up again briefly.

But then Fermanagh goalkeeper McNally came striding forward in first-half stoppage time and boomed over a huge point from a free.

That left Fermanagh with the narrow interval lead and targeting back to back wins over their Ulster rivals.

Cavan were the stronger side in the second-half though and marched into a healthy lead with half a dozen points in the third quarter, half of those coming from Galligan.

Fermanagh did get it back to a one-point game at the hour mark following scores from Ryan Jones, substitute Sean Quigley and Lyons.

But they didn't score again as Cavan finished strongly, picking off points from Gearoid McKiernan, Conor Smith, Galligan, Oisin Brady and Conor Madden to win with a little to spare.

Cavan: R Galligan (0-4, 2f, 2 45); N Carolan, P Faulkner, C Brady; D McVeety (0-1), K Clarke, C Madden; J McKenna, J Smith (0-1); G Smith, G McKiernan (0-2, 1f), J McCabe; O Brady (0-2), P Lynch (0-3, 2f), R O'Neill (0-1).

Subs: C Brady for McKenna 19, J McLoughlin for Carolan h/t, C Smith (0-1) for O'Neill 46, C Madden (0-1) for McKiernan 63, T Madden for McCabe 65.

Fermanagh: S McNally (0-1, 1f); L Cullen, C Cullen, L Flanagan; J Cassidy, S McGullion, C McManus; R Jones (0-1), B Horan; J Largo Ellis, R Lyons (0-3, 2f), R McCaffrey; U Kelm, D McGurn (1-0), A Breen (0-1).

Subs: D McCusker for McManus 43, S Quigley (0-1) for Breen 43, C McShea for Largo Ellis 52, G Jones for McGurn 59, C McGee for Horan 73.

Ref: A Nolan (Wicklow).


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