Allianz FL D2: Cavan defeat Fermanagh
Allianz Football League Division Two
CAVAN 2-11 FERMANAGH 1-11
By Declan Bogue at Brewster Park
The smile on Mickey Graham's face was almost back at the early summer of 2019 levels after his side showed tremendous reserves of know how to claim the two points in Brewster Park.
After the opening night debacle against Armagh, Cavan have got their ship sailing serenely through the choppy waters of Division Two with three consecutive wins now.
They were facing a side that had lost just once at this venue in their previous nine games. The record for all Division Two games this season was standing at 83% success rate for the home side. And now both records look decidedly less impressive.
This was achieved with no small measure of grit. They had just three wides to the hosts' dozen failed attempts, and Fermanagh passed up four goal chances throughout the game.
Ryan McMenamin has them playing a more expansive game that is attractive to watch, but when you do that, you still have to be careful with your chances.
They opened the scoring with a beautifully-crafted goal by Ultan Kelm, but Cavan then chalked up the next five points. Still, with the home side owning the lion's share of ball, they went into the break 1-5 to 0-7 ahead and added another straight after half-time.
Where they fell down, was their inability to deal with the good old-fashioned high ball into the square.
It cost them on 44 minutes when the excellent Oisin Kiernan delivered a dangerous high ball in and full back Padraig Faulkner made it up the pitch to tap it down into the net.
Their second arrived on the hour mark, Ryan Connolly hoisting it in this time and when Erne goalkeeper James McGrath couldn't secure it, Thomas Galligan was on hand to snap it up and blast home from almost on the line.
Man of the match Gearoid McKiernan garnished his performance with five points, one of those a superb mark, and Chris Conroy took another, showing Cavan are starting to learn the new rules quicker than most.
You could easily make the case that over the course of the hour, Fermanagh were the better looking side, but old failings are creeping back. Their tendency to shoot from wide narrow angles cost them here.
With Armagh travelling to Brewster Park next Sunday, it leaves them with all to do in their last games, with Clare away, and Laois at home to conclude the programme.
Scorers for Cavan: G McKiernan 0-5 (1m), T Galligan 1-1, P Faulkner 1-0, O Kiernan 0-2, O Pierson 0-2 (1f), C Conroy 0-1 (m).
Scorers for Fermanagh: U Kelm 1-0, C Corrigan 0-3, C Jones, E McManus (2fs) 0-2 each, R Jones 0-2, Shane McGullion, A Breen 0-1 each.
CAVAN: R Galligan; G Smith, P Faulkner, K Brady; M Reilly, C Brady, O Kiernan; T Galligan, C Conroy; E Doughty, G McKiernan, C Madden; O Pierson, J Smith, B Magee
Subs: S Murray for Doughty (42m), L Fortune for Magee (50m), R Connolly for O Pierson (56m), B Kelly for Madden (62m), L Buchanan for J Smith (70+4m)
FERMANAGH: J McGrath; J Cassidy, C Cullen, K McDonnell; D McCusker, R O'Callaghan, Shane McGullion; E Donnelly, R Jones; A Breen, U Kelm, C Corrigan; Stephen McGullion, C Jones, J McMahon
Subs: D McGurn for Stephen McGullion (56m), D Teague for McCusker (57m), E McManus for C Jones (64m), E Sheils for McDonnell (66m).
REFEREE: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).