Fermanagh 0-09 Cavan 1-12
Cavan made it three wins on the bounce in Allianz Football League Division 2 with a fairly comfortable victory over a toothless Fermanagh side at Brewster Park.
Pete McGrath's troops scored just 0-01 from play as their opponents, without catching light, ran out easy victors, with captain Gearoid McKiernan leading the way and nine different players scoring.
The visitors were the better team in the first half but without convincing. Coming off the back of two big wins, they looked slightly flat up front, with Seanie Johnston – electrifying against Meath and Armagh – struggling to make an impression.
That said, Cavan started best, racing into a 0-03 to 0-00 lead after a quarter of an hour.
Full-forward David Givney had a hand in two of those scores, landing the first himself and tapping down another for corner-back Jason McLoughlin.
And it was the other corner-back, rookie Padraig Faulkner, who added the third from play.
But Fermanagh soon grew into the contest and after a good run from defender Paddy Rehill, Tomás Corrigan – who earlier converted a sideline ball only to see it ruled out after he crossed the whitewash – tapped over a free.
Cavan replied through a free from captain Gearoid McKiernan but Fermanagh then enjoyed a period of ascendancy.
Forcing Cavan goalkeeper Ray Galligan to go long on his kick-outs, the Erne men gobbled up possession and two Corrigan frees dragged them closer before an excellent point – which could have been a goal – from Aidan Breen tied matters at 0-04 apiece in the 25th minute.
Cavan, who kicked six first-half wides to Fermanagh's three and dropped another short, hit the front again with a McKiernan free and he added another from play, after Faulkner bravely forced a turnover, to send his side in two to the good.
Fermanagh cut the gap to the minimum with a Corrigan free at the start of the second half but Blues upped the ante again. They poached two successive Fermanagh kick-outs and engineered two good points, Johnston swinging one over from a tight angle and Liam Buchanan adding the second – his first point at senior level.
Erne cult hero Sean Quigley came off the bench to a warm reception with 25 minutes to go and made an immediate impression – he rode a big tackle from Conor Moynagh and dinked a lovely ball into the path of Marty O'Brien but goalkeeper Galligan saved smartly and the chance was lost.
At the other end, though, Cavan unlocked the Fermanagh defence for the first time moments later and, crucially, they made their chance count.
Good work from sub Cian Mackey and Buchanan saw the ball laid on for the on-rushing Johnston and his left-footed finish to the roof of the net from 14 yards was impeccable.
The hosts replied with another Corrigan free but Cavan cancelled this out with one of their own from goalkeeper Galligan – unusually for a netminder, it was from the hands – and when McKiernan swung over a trademark score form wide on the left, Terry Hyland's men were seven ahead, 1-10 to 0-06, and cruising down the home stretch.
Quigley was central in the closing stages as his side attempted to eat into Cavans' lead. He nailed a 45 and a long-range free but Cavan hit back when Martin Reilly supplied the finish after Killian Clarke galloped the length of the field.
Tomas Corr had the final say as Cavan's fitness shone through in the dying minutes.
Cavan: R Galligan (0-1f), P Faulkner (0-1), K Clarke, J McLoughlin (0-1), C Brady, C Moynagh, K Brady, T Corr (0-1), L Buchanan (0-1), D McVeety, G McKiernan (0-4, 2f), M Reilly (0-1), D Givney (0-1), M Argue, S Johnston (1-1)
Subs: N Murray for K Brady (31 mins), C Mackey for Murray (45 mins, BC), P O'Connor for Argue (60 mins), R Dunne for Buchanan (65 mins), J Hayes for Johnston (67 mins), B Sankey for McKiernan (69 mins)
Fermanagh: C Snow, M Jones, C Cullen, N Cassidy, P Rehill, J McMahon, A Breen (0-1), E Donnelly, R O'Callaghan, B Mulrone, R Corrigan, D McCusker, P McCusker, R Jones, T Corrigan (0-6f)
Subs: M O'Brien for Rehill (43 mins), S Quigley (0-2, 1f, 1 45) for R Corrigan (46 mins), C Jones for P McCusker (65 mins), R McCluskey for Cassidy (67 mins)
Referee: C Brannigan (Down)