Ulster GAA Football Championship Quarter-Final:
Fermanagh 0-11 Cavan 0-13
Cavan are through to the semi-final of the Ulster GAA Football Championship after a narrow win over Fermanagh at Brewster Park, Enniskillen on Sunday. Terry Hyland’s side, who now play Monaghan in the semi-final on June 29, dominated the first half but Fermanagh came back impressively in the third quarter and they needed two late points from Martin Dunne to seal victory.
Cavan were the more composed, controlled side in a tight and often poor first half and led at the break by 0-7 to 0-3, but in the second half the game opened up more and Fermanagh leveled matters at 0-11 apiece after 56 minutes and it looked like that momentum would carry them to a surprise win. However, Dunne stepped up in the closing stages and edged his side ahead with a super score four minutes from the end and then got the insurance point from a free in added time.
After a tetchy opening, Cavan hit an early purple patch and scored three points in quick succession to lead by 0-3 to 0-0 after just six minutes. Damien O’Reilly opened the scoring before Niall McDermott then added a pair of points, one from play and one from a free.
As expected, Fermanagh defended in numbers and the Cavan danger men, Martin Dunne and Eugene Keating, didn’t get anywhere near the room they did in the Breffni County’s Preliminary Round win over Armagh. However, Peter Canavan’s side lacked any penetration up front and frequently lost possession when they broke up the field. Paul Ward’s free, which hit a post, was as close as they came to scoring in the opening quarter.
Cian Mackey had a super first half for Cavan and he marked his performance with fine point which put his side four clear after 24 minutes. Fermanagh finally got off the mark after an agonising 26 minutes when Ryan Jones lofted a score over.
Martin Dunne, who scored nine points against Armagh, finally got a bit of room and hit back for Cavan with a point from a very tight angle. Just around the half hour mark, though, Fermanagh hit a pair of scores to reduce the gap to two, sub Tomás Corrigan scoring just after coming on and then Declan McCusker following up with another.
However, Cavan were the dominant side in a poor first half and their efforts were rewarded when Keating sent over two scores from play just before the break. Although they did struggle to break down the Fermanagh defence at times, Cavan defended superbly and committed more to attack in the first have and deservedly led by 0-7 to 0-3 at the break.
In fairness to Fermanagh, they played with far more purpose in the second half and hit three points without reply within six minutes of the restart to reduce the gap to one, Eoin Donnelly, Daniel Kille and Marty McGrath all hitting the target in that spell. Cavan responded well with points from Martin Dunne (free) and Martin Reilly to move back into a commanding 0-10 to 0-7 lead in the 49th minute.
Corrigan, who along with Kille gave Fermanagh much more of a spark up front after coming on, then pointed and Seán Quigley fisted another over as the hosts really started to build some momentum. Keating halted it temporarily with his third score from play, but two Kille frees had Fermanagh level in the 56th minute.
However, Fermanagh failed to kick on and Cavan defended superbly in the closing stages, and a 10-minute period without a score ended when Dunne impressively took responsibility and scythed a brilliant left-footed shot over the bar with four minutes left. He had a chance to kill off Fermanagh two minutes later from a free, but his shot trailed wide. Luckliy for the 24-year-old he was given a reprieve a minute into added time and he floated over his fifth score of the game to send his side into the Ulster semi-final.
Fermanagh Scorers: R Jones 0-1, T Corrigan 0-2, D McCusker 0-1, E Donnelly 0-1, D Kille 0-4 (0-3f), M McGrath 0-1, S Quigley 0-1
Cavan Scorers: D O’Reilly 0-1, N McDermott 0-2 (0-1f), C Mackey 0-1, M Dunne 0-5 (0-2f), E Keating 0-3, M Reilly 0-1
Fermanagh: C Snow; J Woods, S Lyons, D Kelly; D McCusker, R McCluskey, M O’Brien; E Donnelly, M McGrath; C Quigley, S McCabe, R Jones; P Ward, S Quigley, T McElroy. Subs: T Corrigan for P Ward (30), D Kille for (HT), S Lyons for M McGrath (52), B Owens for S Quigley (65), N Murray for N McDermott (72).
Cavan: C Gilsenan; J McLoughlin, R Dunne, K Clarke; D McKiernan, A Clarke, R Flanagan; D O’Reilly, D Givney; C Mackey, J Brady, F Flanagan; N McDermott, M Dunne, E Keating. Subs: D McKiernan for J McEnroe (27), M Reilly for J Brady (42), T Corr for D McKiernan (50).