A more accomplished Fermanagh side advanced to the next round of the Bank of Ireland Senior Football Championship qualifiers when they beat neighbours Cavan, 0-16 to 1-10, in an error-strewn game in Enniskillen today. Fermanagh enjoyed the majority of possession in the first half, but led by only a point (0-08 to 1-04) thanks to a 28th minute Jason Reilly goal following an appalling defensive mishap. Cavan held the lead briefly in the second half but Fermanagh's extra class eventually told, with Ronan Gallagher the Ernesiders' top scorer - amassing an impressive six point tally.
The Ernesiders, who started James Sherry instead of influential midfielder Paul Brewster, scored first through a Ronan McCabe free in the third minute. Cavan, with wind advantage, hit back to take the lead through two points from play from Larry Reilly. Fermanagh replied with a Raymond Gallagher free but Larry Reilly hit a fine 35-yard point from play in the 17th minute to restore Cavan's lead. Sherry levelled proceedings with a point in the 20th minute before McCabe slotted over his second point for the lead. Gallagher then extended his side's lead to four with another point from play. But Jason Reilly punished a Gallagher mistake when he intercepted a pass and shot to the net to reduce the arrears to just one point. Gallagher then struck a fine free from the ground for Fermanagh after 32 minutes before Dermot McCabe got the last point of the half to restore the one point gap.
Early in the second half, two McCabe points - one from a '45' - put Cavan ahead. Obviously fearing a collapse, Dominic Corrigan decided that it was time for Paul Brewster to enter the fray and his presence produced the desired steadying effect. Two points from Gallagher and one each from Ryan Keenan and Colin Bradley gave Fermanagh a three point advantage. The increasingly involved McCabe continued to keep Cavan in touch with two points to cut the deficit again to one. However, Stephen Maguire, Martin McGrath and Keenan pointed for the men in green as Fermanagh showed refused to choke. McCabe landed another free, with a further point from Pierce McKenna following. A Cavan goal wasn't forthcoming and Bradley got the last point of the game to secure a deserverd three point victory.
Filed by James Boylan