A GOOD start is half the battle, they say, but a bad one can end your provincial dreams as Fermanagh found out to their cost in yesterday's Ulster SFC quarter-final at Brewster Park, Enniskillen.
Cavan finished the stronger to edge out their hosts, 0-13 to 0-11. But the Ernesiders were left to rue their display in the opening 25 minutes as it was not until Ryan Jones' point in the 26th minute that they opened their scoring account.
Fermanagh manager, legendary ex-Tyrone star Peter Canavan, cited his side's 10-week break in competitive action since the league's end as the reason for his side's slow start.
"Cavan had already played in the championship and were up to the pace much better than us," said Canavan.
"The benefit of having played recently worked for Cavan and we are left to rue our bad start.
"I felt that if we were within touching distance with five or 10 minutes to go we could win it.
"I was expecting a big finish from our boys and maybe with a bit more composure they would have won," added Canavan.
With security tight around Enniskillen ahead of this week's G8 summit, an attendance of just 9,352 attended a clash which didn't come to life until the second half, when the home side put a dreadful first-half showing behind them to level with 13 minutes remaining.
But they failed to get in front as Cavan showed the greater composure in the final stages to edge home and secure back-to-back wins in the Ulster SFC for the first time since 2001. Cavan manager Terry Hyland said: "No quarter was asked or given. It was all about bravery.
"At the end, our lads were breaking through and won the frees when they were brought down."
Cavan now face Monaghan in their provincial semi-final on June 29.
"We had a good battle with them in the league and just came out on top.
"If we work as hard as we did today, we will not be far away," concluded Hyland.