Ulster Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final
Cavan 2-16 Armagh 0-14
Cavan picked up a first win in the Ulster Championship since 2013 with a fully-merited eight-point victory over Armagh before 15,263 fans at Kingspan Breffni Park.
Terry Hyland’s men were in charge for almost the whole 70 minutes, with Dara McVeety, Martin Reily, Sean Johnston, and Ray Galligan in sparkling form.
Cavan dominated the first half, at the end of which they were full value for their 1-9 to 0-7 lead. The Blues dominated on kick-outs, with Reilly playing a key role and captain Gearoid McKiernan growing into the contest.
With David Givney claiming whatever ball came his way, Cavan had the option of running it or going long and they terrorised Armagh in the second quarter.
Cavan opened the scoring with a super strike from Sean Johnston, but Armagh settled fairly quickly after that and edged into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after 10 minutes with points from Stefan Campbell (free) and a brace from Ethan Rafferty.
However, Cavan were full of running and looked dangerous every time they broke out.
Two Johnston frees and a 45 from goalkeeper Ray Galligan nudged them in front and they quickly kicked on, Johnston floating over a neat point from play and McKiernan adding two more.
And then, in the 20th minute, the hosts hit the net when Reilly galloped down the left wing, cut in and fed Dara McVeety for a straightforward finish.
And when centre-back Conor Moynagh raced 50 metres and teed McKiernan up for another, Cavan were 1-8 to 0-4 ahead and cruising.
Rafferty and Johnston traded frees before the break as Cavan went in five to the good.
And although Kieran McGeeney’s side made a decent fist of things in the second half, Cavan’s pace when breaking out of defence and their extra quality in defence made the difference.
The excellent Stefan Campbell was their go-to man all day and gave Killian Clarke a tough afternoon, but he will rue missing a glorious opportunity when he was felled in front of goal and ref Eddie Kinsella awarded a penalty.
However, Campbell’s penalty was tame and was saved by the oustanding Galligan. The hosts immediately countered and Mackey set Johnston up for the killer score.
By that stage, Cavan had notched their second goal, Martin Reilly tucking away from the penalty spot after Cian Mackey was fouled, and a succession of late scores from Dara McVeety, Conor Moynagh and two from lively sub Jack Brady.
And that was that – the Blues march on to meet Tyrone in three weeks’ time in a repeat of the NFL Division 2 Final. For the Orchard men, the qualifiers beckon.
Scorers for Cavan: S Johnston 0-7 (4fs), D McVeety 1-1, G McKiernan 0-3, M Reilly 1-0 (pen), J Brady 0-2, D Givney 0-1, C Moynagh 0-1
Scorers for Armagh: S Campbell 0-8 (2 45s, 3f), E Rafferty 0-4 (3fs), T Kernan 0-2,
Cavan: R Galligan, P Faulkner, K Clarke, R Dunne, F Flanagan, C Moynagh, Nmurray, T Corr, L Buchanan, D McVeety, G McKiernan , M Reilly, D Givney, M Argue, S Johnston
Subs: C Brady for Murray (46), E Keating for Argue (51), J Brady for Keating (BC, 54), K Brady for P Faulkner (65), G Smith for Johnston (66), L Buchanan for McKiernan (69).
Armagh: P Morison, J Morgan, C Vernon, M Shields, A Mallon, A Forker, C McKeever, B Donaghy, E Rafferty, R Grugan, T Kernan, C O’Hanlon, C Watters, S Campbell, G McParland
Subs: A Findon for O’Hanlon (27), M McKenna for Watters (30), S Connell for Vernon (40), J McElroy for Rafferty (44), S Heffron for McElroy (BC, 50).
Referee: E Kinsella (Laois).
Report: Paul Fitzpatrick