Cavan are through to the All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals after a 1-17 to 1-08 win over London at Croke Park.
London’s Paul Geraghty punched home a 20th minute goal, and two points each from Ciaran McCallion and Lorcan Mulvey helped them go in level 0-09 to 1-06 at the break, with Martin Dunne hitting five of Cavan’s points.
It was only in the final quarter that the Breffni men began to get on top, with midfielder David Givney hitting three points and substitute Niall McDermott netting a late goal to seal a quarter-final slot for the first time.
It was London who raised the first flag, with Cathal Magee slotting over a point after tidy approach work by Geraghty and McCallion.
But Cavan were soon into their stride, pushing forward in numbers to stretch the Exiles’ defence and pick off scores through Martin Dunne and Feargal Flanagan, before Martin Reilly slotted over a ’45.
Dunne continued to find the target from frees and play, his fourth score making it 0-06 to 0-01 by the 15th minute.
But London stunned the Ulster men with a 20th minute goal, Geraghty rising above Rory Dunne to punch home Gregory Crowley’s cross from the right.
Dunne nailed another free, but London got their defensive strategy sorted out, and time after time Cavan carried the ball into the tackle or sent the final pass astray, with Philip Butler, Anthony Gaughan and Crowley getting through some excellent work at the back.
McCallion sent two gems sailing between the posts to bring the sides level in the 25th minute, and London went in front on the half-hour when Seamus Hannon’s strong run from deep was finished in style by Geraghty.
Breffni defender Tomas Corr found the space to push forward for a couple of scores, but the sides were level at 0-9 to 1-06 at the break, after Cavan native Lorcan Mulvey converted a London free.
London, with 14 men inside their own 45 metre line, continued to frustrate the Breffni men.
But having fallen behind to scores from Cian Mackey and Eugene Keating, they were forced into a more adventurous approach.
Mulvey knocked over a free and Caolan Doyle thumped over a long range point, and as the game slipped into its final quarter, just two points separated the sides.
However, fatigue began to take its toll on a heroic London effort, and their challenge faded.
David Givney rose to the challenge with three excellent long-range points, and London failed to score in the final 18 minutes.
They did have a goal chance, however, but Damien Dunleavy was denied by a superb Alan O’Mara save.
Cavan also crafted a goal opportunity, but Keating somehow missed, hitting the post from three yards with an open goal at his mercy.
They did find the net two minutes from the end, when Mackey unselfishly returned Niall McDermott’s pass for the substitute to net from close range.
Cavan: A O’Mara, T Corr (0-2), R Dunne, K Clarke, J McEnroe, A Clarke, R Flanagan, D O’Reilly, D Givney (0-3), C Mackey (0-1), J Brady, F Flanagan (0-2), M Reilly (0-1, ’45), M Dunne (0-6, 4f), E Keating (0-2, 1f).
Subs: D McVitty for McEnroe, J McLoughlin for Corr, N McDermott (1-0) for Brady, K Brady for F Flanagan, M McKeever for Mackey
London: D Traynor, P Butler, S Curran, D McGreevy, S Hannon, A Gaughan, C Og Greene, C Doyle (0-1), L Mulvey (0-3, 3f), S Mulligan, D Dunleavy, C McCallion (0-2), G Crowley, P Geraghty (1-1), C Magee (0-1).
Subs: D O’Neill for Hannon, S Kelly for McCallion, C Daly for Crowley, B Collins for Butler, E O’Neill for Doyle
Referee: B Cassidy (Derry).
Highlights and analysis of all the weekend’s action on The Sunday Game from 21:30 on Sunday 28 July on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (Ireland only). Expert and fan reaction on Take Your Point from 18:00 on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).