Cavan left with plenty to work on
Cavan 1-12 Fermanagh 0-11: Cavan withstood a final-quarter revival from an experimental Fermanagh side en route to a four-point win in their Division 3 opener at a nippy Breffni Park.
The Blues had won their first-round league match just once in the previous eight seasons and with Eugene Keating and David Givney – who kicked 0-9 from play between them – to the fore, Cavan raced into a 0-10 to 0-4 lead at half-time, having kicked eight wides to Fermanagh's two.
Pete McGrath's side, minus the Quigley brothers, were flat and devoid of ideas in that first half, with Tomás Corrigan their only bright spark.
Corrigan and Givney traded points early in the second half but the arrival of Eamon Maguire helped tilt things in Fermanagh's favour as Cavan slipped into a comfort zone which very nearly cost them the points.
Points from Maguire, Lee Cullen, Corrigan and Ryan Jones cut the gap to 0-12 to 0-10 before Cavan finally put some daylight between the sides when Feargal Flanagan capitalised on some slack defending to sneak in and side-foot a goal from 10 yards.
That green flag dampened Fermanagh's blaze and although they battled manfully to the end – having lost Niall Cassidy and Ryan McCluskey to black cards – Cavan closed it out with four points to spare.
But, according to manager Terry Hyland, the Breffni men have plenty to work on.
"We didn't play well in the second half but it's all about the two points at the end of the day," he said.
"We have a lot of good players to work with and we know that we can be better. At least we have that consolation but it will give us plenty work at it in training during the week. I thought our turnovers and our tackles were good and I thought our defence did quite well.
"We kicked 14 wides, I think, but they are things we can work on and improve."
Cavan: C Gilsenan; J Hayes, R Dunne, K Brady; J McEnroe, A Clarke, F Flanagan (1-0); D Givney (0-3), T Mooney; C Mackey, M Lyng, M Reilly (0-3, '45); N McDermott, K Tierney, E Keating (0-6). Subs: K Clarke for Mooney (54); N Smith for McEnroe (55); M Dunne for Mackey (59); M Argue for Tierney (63); N Murray for Reilly (67).
Fermanagh: C Snow; J Woods, C Cullen, M O'Brien; D McCusker, R McCluskey, T Daly; E Donnelly, R O'Callaghan; L Cullen (0-1), R Jones (0-1), C Jones; P McCusker, N Cassidy, T Corrigan (0-7, 6f). Subs: Stephen McElrone for Cassidy (41, BC); E Maguire (0-2) for C Jones (46); T McElroy for O'Callaghan (57, BC); E Courtney for McCluskey (58, BC); R Ormsby for P McCusker (63).
Referee: E Kinsella (Laois).