Not for the first time this summer Dermot McCabe powered Cavan to victory in the qualifiers with a 1-08 to 1-06 win over Meath, but the Clones win may yet be remembered for a very different reason.

Cavan stole victory in front of 18,143 fans but history is likely to mark the day as Sean Boylan's final game in charge of Meath after 23 years in charge. The four time All-Ireland winning manager was non committal about his future afterwards stating it was talk 'for another day'. On this display, however, the Royal County need a significant makeover and Boylan may opt to walk away in the coming weeks or months and pass the baton.

First and foremost Meath need more potency up front as a hail of missed chances saw them bow out of the qualifiers to nprtherly opposition for the fourth season running.

Credit to Cavan for another brave performance, driven from midfield by the mercurial McCabe, but it was a dour game they'll be delighted to put behind them. In fact, for all the Royals' wasteful play they were still only a point down when Graham Geraghty blazed home a penalty in injury-time.

But after a surprise win over Donegal last time out, Cavan ensured another victory here with Finbarr O'Reilly's late, late free to seal a two point win.

It was tough on Boylan who took over in Meath in late 1982 and deserved so much more from his team. Geraghty finished up as top scorer but was guiltiest early on with three woeful wides as Cavan opened up a 0-3 to 0-1 lead. McCabe and Seanie Johnstone got those scores but the best was yet to come when Jason O'Reilly hit a trademark 23rd minute goal after McCabe's long ball in.

By the break Cavan held a commanding 1-4 to 0-4 lead but with both sides wasting more than they converted - Cavan hit 15 wides and Meath 12 - it was anyone's game.

Crucially, Cavan wanted it more and McCabe signalled his own burning desire with a brilliant solo run and fisted point 22 seconds after the restart. Johnston added another to put Cavan 1-6 to 0-4 ahead but Meath regrouped with two points from Joe Sheridan.

Larry Reilly reopened the four point cushion with a fine score and the margin remained in tact as Meath, despite dominating at the other end, just couldn't buy a score. Eventually they hit the mark when Geraghty slotted home an injury-time penalty after Joe Sheridan was hauled down - but Cavan had the last laugh with Finbarr Reilly's converted free.

Team sheets and scorers:

Cavan: James Reilly; M Hannon, D Rabbitt, P O'Reilly; M Cahill, A Forde, P Reilly; D McCabe (0-2), P McKenna; M McKeever, N Walsh, F O'Reilly (0-2; 2f); S Johnston (0-3), J O'Reilly (1-0), L Reilly (0-1).

Subs.: M Lyng for Walsh 49, C Collins for Rabbitt 51, Paddy Brady for McKenna 60, C Mackey for Johnston 62.

Meath: D Gallagher; N McKeigue, K Reilly, C King; T O'Connor, D Fay, M O'Reilly; N Crawford, A Moyles; P Byrne (0-1), D Crimmins, S Bray; R Magee (0-1), G Geraghty (1-1, 1 pen), J Sheridan (0-3).

Subs.: M Burke for Crimmins 45, O Murphy for Bray 48, N Kelly for Byrne 51, B Farrell for Magee 59, P Reynolds for O'Connor 62.

Referee: G O Conamha (Galway).