Tuesday 24 October 2017

Three see red as Cavan take spoils in grudge match


Orla Bannon

After two previous championship meetings and a fiery league match in the last 12 months, an over-familiarity between Cavan and Fermanagh resulted in a spiteful, chaotic match in Breffni Park on Saturday night.

The qualifier was sadly more memorable for the half-time fracas involving players, subs and back-room personnel than for any football that was played.

Referee Michael Duffy showed three red cards, including a straight red for Fermanagh's Sean Quigley for the punch on Cian Mackey which ignited the brawl, and 15 yellow cards.

Erne boss Peter Canavan questioned the high card count. "I made it clear to our own lads that when you play against a team that you already played in the championship, there's going to be an edge to the game and it was important to retain discipline at all times," he said.

"Some of the tackles were careless and players left themselves open for bookings, but some of (the bookings) were very questionable.

"There were a lot of things I wouldn't be happy about, but I'm not going to go down that road or I could end up saying something I'll regret."

Duffy had refereed the league game between the teams in March, on that occasion brandishing four reds and 13 yellows. It was obvious that players had a few scores to settle and football was not always the priority.


It was a game which descended into near farce in the second half as Duffy became too involved and blew 32 frees in a stop-start, awful spectacle.

Cavan selector Anthony Forde and Fermanagh back-room member Lorcan Martin were also sent to the stands for their part in the half-time melee.

Cavan boss Terry Hyland admitted there was baggage between the teams. "There were little niggles from other games; there are things sitting there and that can happen," he said.

Cavan made light of the view that they would struggle to beat Fermanagh again. This time, it was even more emphatic with Martin Dunne's 11th-minute goal giving them a cushion they never relinquished.

"It was said we had the advantage of having a championship game the last day already, whereas Fermanagh were coming out fresh, but we turned that myth over again," added Hyland.

Cavan made all the running, scoring the first three points all from play inside seven minutes.

Mackey, a threat throughout, threaded a nice pass to Dunne for the early goal and Cavan kicked on, stretching their lead to 1-6 to 0-2 after 25 minutes. Quigley then scored two superb long-range frees just before the chaos erupted to close the deficit to 1-7 to 0-5 at the break.

Fermanagh were already struggling with a lack of natural finishers and the departure of Quigley signalled their exit from the championship.

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. Duffy flashed his third red card to Shane McCabe in the 58th minute for a second booking.

Canavan refused to be drawn on his future, insisting: "The fact of the matter is myself and the back-room team have really enjoyed working with this group of players.

"They have made serious progress this year in our estimation and they have given us everything."

Scorers – Cavan: M Dunne 1-3 (2fs), N McDermott (2fs), F Flanagan 0-2 each, E Keating, R Flanagan, D O'Reilly, M Reilly, C Gilsenan (f), D Givney, C Mackey 0-1 each. Fermanagh: S Quigley (2fs), D Kille (4fs) 0-4 each, E Donnelly, D Kelly 0-1 each

CAVAN – C Gilsenan 7; J McLoughlin 7, J McEnroe 6, K Clarke 6; D O'Reilly 6, A Clarke 6, R Flanagan 7; T Corr 7, D Givney 7; C Mackey 8, M Reilly 6, F Flanagan 7; N McDermott 6, M Dunne 8, E Keating 7. Subs: J Brady 6 for McDermott (29), D McVitty 6 for McEnroe (59), D McKiernan 6 for Corr (63), K Tierney 6 for Dunne (65), M McKeever for McLoughlin (69) not on long enough to be rated.

FERMANAGH – C Snow 6; J Woods 6, B Cox 7, D Kelly 7; B Owens 6, R McCluskey 6, M O'Brien 7; E Donnelly 7, M McGrath 6; D McCusker 6, S McCabe 6, R Jones 6; T Corrigan 7, S Quigley 6, T McElroy 6. Subs: J Sherry 6 for McGrath (45), C Quigley 6 for McCusker (45), D Kille 8 for Corrigan (45), D Keenan 6 for Owens (51).

REF – Michael Duffy (Sligo)


Man of the match

Cian Mackey (Cavan)

Not too many contenders but Mackey created a lot of scores.

Turning point

The straight red card for Sean Quigley. Fermanagh never recovered.

Talking point

Why Michael Duffy was put in charge of this game. A different appointment might have been the wiser option.

Magic moment

The final whistle. A tortuous passage of play thankfully came to an end.

Ref watch

Duffy got over-involved and all that could be heard in the second half was his whistle.

What they said

Cavan manager Terry Hyland:

"People said the last day that we had the advantage of having a championship game already, whereas Fermanagh were fresh. We turned that myth over."

Fermanagh manager Peter Canavan:

"At times some of the tackles were careless, but some of the (cards) were very questionable."

Match statistics


Cavan 13 (6 first half)

Fermanagh 8 (4)


Cavan 27 (15)

Fermanagh 32 (11)

Yellow cards:

Cavan 7 (F Flanagan 17, M Reilly 28, D O'Reilly 35, T Corr 42, M Reilly 54, J Brady 58, K Clarke 71)

Fermanagh 8 (R McCluskey 22, M O'Brien 35, S McCabe 35, R Jones 35, E Donnelly 37, M McGrath 38, S McCabe 58, T McElroy 59)

Red cards:

Cavan 1 (M Reilly 54)

Fermanagh 2 (S Quigley 36, S McCabe 58)

What's next?

Cavan march into the third round of the qualifiers; Fermanagh's summer is over.

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