at Breffni Park
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 were determined to continue their recent good form. 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 comofrt 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 ten 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.
Two point in the bag for the Breffni men, then, but plenty to work on, according to manager Terry Hyland.
“We didn't play well in the second half in fairness but it's all about the two points at the end of the day, we have a lot of good players to work with and we know that we can be better. At least we have that consolation coming out of the game – we didn't play well in the second half, we know that, but it will give us plenty work at it intraining during the week,” said Hyland.
“I thought our turnovers and our tackles were good and I thought our defence did quite well. We were a wee bit wayward on our shooting up front, we kicked 14 wides I think, but at least they are things we can work on.
“The positive is that we have come out of the game with two points, only our second victory in the first game in seven or eight years.”
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 T Mooney (54); N Smith for J McEnroe (55); M Dunne for C Mackey (59); M Argue for K Tierney (63); N Murray for M Reilly (67).
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 N Cassidy (41, BC); E Maguire (0-2) for C Jones (46); T McElroy for R O'Callaghan (57, BC); E Courtney for R McCluskey (58, BC); R Ormsby for P McCusker (63).
Ref; E Kinsella (Laois)