Sean Quigley scored nine points as Fermanagh dethroned Ulster champions Cavan in a stunning but deserved 0-15 to 0-14 Allianz Football League Division 3 North win at Brewster Park.
The Ernesiders were without six of their most experienced players, Ryan Jones, Conall Jones, Tomas Corrigan, Ruairi Corrigan, Che Cullen and Lee Cullen, however, Ryan 'Ricey' McMenamin's youngsters played like veterans and deservedly beat the Ulster champions
Cavan, with Martin Reilly making his 150th appearance for the county, came to Enniskillen fully loaded with a strong team but Fermanagh played with a lot of heart and deserved their win.
One of their old reliables, Sean Quigley, kicked four of their five first-half points, two from play, with Fermanagh making good use of possession.
Despite Cavan fielding a very experienced line-up, there was little between the teams and they were level five times in the first half. All-Star goalkeeper Raymond Galligan pointing a free in injury time to edge Cavan in front 0-06 to 0-05 at the break.
Building on last year’s success means introducing fresh talent, and Cavan seemed to have unearthed a new scoring threat with debutant Patrick Lynch impressing for the visitors, scoring twice from frees and twice from play in the opening half.
Conor Love swivelled and scored to put Fermanagh back in front at 0-04 to 0-03 after 22 minutes but Cavan finished the half strongly with Conor Smith and Lynch on target.
Cavan lost James Smith to a straight red card for an alleged off-the-ball punch just before half time, but it wasn’t a mortal blow.
Fermanagh hardly had time to take advantage when they too were reduced to 14 men, James McMahon – who had got on a lot of ball – was sent off for a second yellow card offence seven minutes after the restart.
If Lynch was Cavan’s scorer-in-chief in the first half, another newer face Caoimhin McGovern came to the fore in the second half with two quickfire points to help Cavan open up a two-point lead for the first time in the game.
Almost inevitably, Fermanagh hit back with Ciaran Corrigan and Quigley drawing them level.
Darragh McGurn scored a trademark full-forward’s point, catching a high ball and turning to slot over on the turn as Fermanagh dug in and hung on against the provincial champions.
It was anyone’s game midway through the second half at nine points each after Corrigan landed his second of the game with Fermanagh playing with a lot of heart.
Their most experienced man, Eoin Donnelly, thought he had landed the all-important major after 57 minutes when Quigley threaded through a lovely pass to put him one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
He kept the shot low across the goalkeeper and Galligan was beaten, but the woodwork came to Cavan’s rescue as Donnelly’s shot crashed off the upright.
Within seconds Cavan rubbed salt in the wound with an equaliser from Conor Brady.
Then Corrigan landed a superb third for Fermanagh before picking up a black card.
Quigley nailed another couple of difficult long-range frees and Corrigan, back on the field after his sin-binning, fisted the ball over the bar as Fermanagh held out for a deserved win.
Fermanagh: C Snow; C McManus, J Cassidy, L Flanagan; K Connor, J McMahon, K McDonnell; E Donnelly, S McGullion; C Corrigan (0-4), T Bogue, J Largo Ellis; C Love (0-1), D McGurn (0-1), S Quigley 0-9 (6f)
Subs: D McCusker for McManus (34), S Cassidy for Love (45), A Breen for McGurn (55), B Horan for McGullion (62), R O’Callaghan for McDonnell (70), M McCauley for Largo Ellis (70)
Cavan: R Galligan (0-1, f); K Clarke, P Faulkner, Conor Brady (0-1); Ciaran Brady, Oisin Kiernan, L Fortune; J Smith, K Brady; C Smith (0-1), G McKiernan (0-4, 4f), M Reilly; O Brady, P Lynch (0-4, 2f), C McGovern (0-2), P Lynch, C McGovern
Subs: C Madden (0-1) for O Brady (HT), S Murray for Smith (HT), J McLoughlin for Clarke (40), M Argue for Lynch (55), C Conroy for Murray (60), O Pierson for McGovern (65)
Referee: Martin McNally (Monaghan)