Cavan hang tough in feisty encounter
CAVAN 1-14 FERMANAGH 0-10
Cavan recorded their third championship win over Fermanagh in 12 months after a feisty SFC All-Ireland qualifier in Breffni Park last night.
Sligo referee Michael Duffy flashed three red cards and 15 yellows in what was a terrible game between two teams over-familiar with each other.
A mass brawl just after the half-time whistle resulted in Fermanagh's Sean Quigley getting a straight red card immediately after the restart.
Shane McCabe and Martin Reilly both went for second yellow-card offences during the second half. After two championship defeats to Cavan in the past 12 months, including an Ulster quarter-final four weeks ago, Fermanagh had every motivation to want to win in Breffni Park.
However it was Cavan who made all the running, scoring the first three points of the game inside seven minutes. Eugene Keating, Fergal Flanagan and Damien O'Reilly all scored from play as Cavan took the early initiative.
Fermanagh failed to score for the first 25 minutes when the sides met in Brewster Park last month – this time they only had to wait nine minutes before Sean Quigley got them on the scoreboard.
Martin Dunne was the match-winner in Enniskillen and he made a decisive impact last night with an 11th minute goal. Cian Mackey made a good run down the wing and spotted Dunne, whose low left-footed finish beat Chris Snow in goal. Eoin Donnelly's long-range point was a good response for Fermanagh, but Cavan stretched their lead to 1-6 to 0-2 after 25 minutes.
A dull game dominated by lateral hand-passing grew more spiteful as the half progressed with a couple of late challenges. Duffy flashed seven yellows in the first half and a mass brawl erupted after the whistle for the break blew.
Sean Quigley clearly punched Mackey in the stomach and that sparked a huge melee with subs and selectors piling in from the sidelines. Quigley had scored two superb long-range frees just before the chaos erupted to close the deficit to 1-7 to 0-5 at the break.
Just before throwing the ball in at the start of the second half, Duffy gave Quigley a straight red card for his challenge on Mackey.
Fermanagh were already struggling with a lack of natural finishers in the team and the departure of Quigley signalled their exit from the championship. Peter Canavan made a triple substitution after 45 minutes to try and breathe new life into Fermanagh's challenge.
They hit four wides in the second half before sub Daniel Kille registered their first point of the second half in the 50th minute. Cavan's Martin Reilly was sent off for a second yellow card offence after 55 minutes, when his team were winning by 1-10 to 0-6.
Duffy flashed his third red card of the evening to Fermanagh's Shane McCabe in the 58th minute for a second booking as Cavan progressed with little to shout about.
Scorers – Cavan: M Dunne 1-3 (2f), N McDermott (2f), F Flanagan 0-2 each, R Flanagan, D O'Reilly, M Reilly, C Gilsenan (f), D Givney, C Mackey, E Keating 0-1 each. Fermanagh: S Quigley (2f), D Kille (4f) 0-4 each, E Donnelly, D Kelly 0-1 each.
Cavan: C Gilsenan; J McLoughlin, M Reilly, K Clarke; J McEnroe, A Clarke, R Flanagan; D O'Reilly, D Givney; C Mackey, T Corr, F Flanagan; N McDermott, M Dunne, E Keating. Subs: J Brady for McDermott (29), D McVitty for McEnroe (59), D McKiernan for Corr (63), K Tierney for Dunne (65), M McKeever for McLoughlin (69).
Fermanagh: C Snow; J Woods, B Cox, D Kelly; D McCusker, R McCluskey, M O'Brien; E Donnelly, M McGrath; B Owens, S McCabe, R Jones; T Corrigan, S Quigley, T McElroy. Subs: J Sherry for McGrath (45), C Quigley for McCusker (45), D Kille for Corrigan (45), D Keenan for Owens (51).
Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo)