Heading into the weekend, Cavan were the worst team in the top flight.
The Breffni men were glued to the bottom of the table with no points and were already in 'must-win' territory in last Sunday's game against Roscommon.
That they had acquitted themselves well in their three games to that point was of little comfort to them. Defensively sound, they had conceded just one goal and that came against Mayo where manager Mickey Graham felt goalkeeper Raymond Galligan was fouled by Evan Regan.
They also didn't trail Kerry until the 67th minute, while they were reduced to 12 men at one stage in their two-point defeat to Galway.
So they had to make a stand Kingspan Breffni on Sunday against a side that had beaten them six times on the bounce in recent seasons.
It was do or die in terms of their hopes of staying in Division 1. Dara McVeety and his team-mates duly delivered.
"Absolutely (we had to win), we knew with the last three games, we have the Dubs last, Tyrone and Monaghan next, there will be nothing easy so if we didn't get the win there we hadn't much chance of staying up," McVeety reflected. "You could see that in the performance, the boys they were fighting very hard. We were fortunate when they went down to 14 men I was saying to one of the Roscommon lads, the way the both of us play, when you go a man down it's very, very hard.
"It happened us a couple of years ago against them, we went a man down and they hammered us as well.
"Things went our way today and we still have a chance of staying up and that's the main thing."
McVeety felt they weren't far off.
"We probably played similar (in the other games) but we just didn't do it for as long. This time we did it for longer and that's why we didn't get the result.
"We have put in good spells of performances but dropped off maybe before half-time and slightly after it and made it hard for ourselves. The only difference is we kept it going for longer."
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