Fermanagh surrender at hands of clinical Cavan
Fermanagh 0-09 Cavan 1-12
If a record is going to go, it better go in some style.
So Fermanagh will be distraught that they surrendered their 11-game unbeaten streak at home with this limp defeat to neighbours Cavan.
A single score from play by wing-back Aidan Breen was the standout statistic for Pete McGrath's men, who were bullied in all sectors by a much more fluid and organised Cavan side who can now realistically target promotion with two home games to Laois and Galway left.
Asked if this fixture was one he had targeted from a distance out, victorious Breffni boss Terry Hyland replied: "We target all the games.
"We don't treat anybody any different, we treat everybody the same. People have this thing that you'll can points off certain teams but you have to set yourself up to win every game and that makes you competitive.
"If you make a conscious decision that you're going to stand off teams and you're going to attack other teams you're not going to build momentum."
Fermanagh, who survived on a ration of Tomás Corrigan free kicks, some with a fair degree of difficulty, never troubled Cavan from play.
McGrath declared himself bitterly disappointed at the finish, saying: "Not because we lost the match, but because we played poorly. As a team performance it was well below the mark, individually in some cases it was well below the mark.
"I would just like to think that if we had played somewhere closer to our potential, I think we would have been a lot closer to Cavan. We played for five or six minutes in the first half, we put them on the back foot, they were panicking."
While Cavan raced into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead by the 17th minute, Fermanagh were on equal terms by the 25th, Breen's point a definite half-chance of goal.
The decisive score came ten minutes in the second half, just after O'Brien's chance. A long kickout was gobbled up by Cian Mackey on the break, and after going through the hands of big midfielder Liam Buchanan, it was left to Seanie Johnston to apply a classy finish beyond Chris Snow into the top corner of the Erne net.
That left Cavan with a six-point cushion that they were never going to discard. Their greater maturity of players such as Martin Reilly, Killian Clarke and Conor Moynagh stood out, and they had much greater-developed team play. An odd individual like Gearoid McKiernan and Johnston does no harm either. McGrath said: "The pattern of the game was that we were attacking often and not putting the attacks dead. And Cavan were hitting us very effectively on the counter-attack. That was a big problem. It's a double-whammy, you are not getting the score you should have got down there and you are conceding up there.As that grinds on, then the thing gets further away from you."
FERMANAGH: C Snow; M Jones, C Cullen, N Cassidy; P Rehill, J McMahon, A Breen 0-1; E Donnelly, R O'Callaghan; B Mulrone, R Corrigan, D McCusker; P McCusker, R Jones, T Corrigan 0-6, 6f. Subs: M O'Brien for Rehill (42), S Quigley 0-2, 1x'45', 1f for R Corrigan (44), C Jones for P McCusker (63), R McCluskey for Cassidy (67)
CAVAN: R Galligan 0-1, 1f; P Faulkner 0-1, K Clarke, J McLoughlin 0-1; C Brady, C Moynagh, K Brady; T Corr 0-1, L Buchanan 0-1; D McVeety, G McKiernan 0-4, 2f, M Reilly 0-1; D Givney 0-1, M Argue, S Johnston 1-1. Subs: N Murray for K Brady (35), P O'Connor for Argue (60), R Dunne for Buchanan (63), J Hayes for Johnston (67), B Sankey for McKiernan (72)
Referee: Ciaran Branagan (Down)