Martin Dunne fired Cavan into the first round of the Ulster SFC with a nine-point haul at Kingspan Breffni Park, eight of them from play, as Armagh went down to a 1-15 to 1-11 defeat.

Cian Mackey blasted home a 22nd minute goal and Dunne slotted four points to give Cavan a 1-06 to 0-04 interval lead.

Ethan Rafferty pulled back an Armagh goal in the 58th minute, but Cavan shot a string of late scores to set up a clash with Fermanagh, despite losing midfielder David Givney to a second booking. 

Tony Kernan’s early point was cancelled out by a Martin Dunne free, before midfielder Damien O’Reilly gave the home side the lead for the first time in the sixth minute.

Dunne stretched the advantage to three, and while James Lavery and Stephen Harold worked hard in the engineroom to get the Orchard men moving, they couldn’t get key man Jamie Clarke into the game.

The Crossmaglen star was double-teamed by Jason McLoughlin and Alan Clarke, squeezed out of the game by virtual suffocation, finishing the game scoreless.

But Armagh committed extra men forward, and drew level when Tony Kernan converted a sideline ball and Caolan Rafferty sliced over a gem.

But they were caught by a classic counter-attack goal in the 22nd minute.

Ronan Flanagan instigated the raid, picking out Cian Mackey 50 metres from goal.

The Castlerahan man still had plenty to do, but space opened up in front of him as he darted past two defenders to smash his shot past Philip McEvoy.

Dunne and Niall McDermott both tagged on scores for a four-point advantage, and in a bid to shore up a leaky defence, Armagh boss Paul Grimley called upon the experienced Brendan Donaghy, who had been unable to start due to injury.

Nevertheless, full forward Dune continued to wreak havoc, hooking over his fourth point of the afternoon for a 1-06 to 0-04 interval lead.

And they pushed on further in the early stages of the second half, with Eugene Keating, Niall McDermott and the elusive Dunne adding to the Breffni tally.

For the first time in the game, Clarke excaped the clutches of his markers and smashed a brilliant shot to the top corner of the net, but referee Maurice Deegan had already blown his whistle, Stefan Forker despatching the free.

But Armagh were finally succeeding in penetrating the Cavan defence, and a second goal chance followed almost immediately, Ethan Rafferty releasing defender Mark Shields, but his shot flew over the bar.

Displaying an increased level of adventure, the Orchard men narrowed the gap further with converted frees from Aaron Kernan and Forker.

But they were always open to the counter-attack, and needed an excellent save from Philip McEvoy to deny Keating early in the final quarter.

Armagh remained true to their attacking principles, and were rewarded in the 58th minute when substitute Rafferty drilled a low shot past Conor Gilsenan to narrow the gap to a single point.

However, they were unable to hold the mercurial Dunne, and the Cavan Gaels sharpshooter punished mercilessly with his ball-winning and accurate finishing.

He claimed three more points in the final ten minutes, with James McEnroe and Keating also hitting the target to guide Terry Hyland’s men home, and into a first round clash with Fermanagh.

It’s the Qualifiers for Armagh, a familiar route for the county in recent seasons.

Cavan: C Gilsenan, J McLoughlin, R Dunne, K Clarke, J McEnroe (0-01), A Clarke, R Flanagan, D O’Reilly (0-01), D Givney, C Mackey (1-00), K Brady, F Flanagan, N McDermott (0-02, 1f), M Dunne (0-09, 1f), E Keating (0-02).

Subs: M Reilly for Brady, J Brady for McDermott, J McCutcheon for O’Reilly, M McKeever for Mackey

Armagh: P McEvoy, P McKeown, D McKenna, M Shields (0-01), A Kernan (0-02, 2f), C McKeever, F Moriarty, J Lavery, S Harold, C Rafferty (0-01), C O’Hanlon, K Dyas, T Kernan 0-02, 1 s/l), J Clarke, S Forker (0-04, 2f).

Subs: E Rafferty (1-00) for Moriarty, B Donaghy for McKenna, J Hanratty for O’Hanlon, E McVerry (0-01)for Forker, G McParland for C Rafferty

Referee: M Deegan (Laois).

Highlights and analysis of all the weekend’s action on The Sunday Game from 21:30 on Sunday 19 May on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (Ireland only).