Fermanagh senior hurling boss Rory O"Donnell cited his team"s 'unbelievable workrate' as key to their Lory Meagher Cup win over hosts Cavan when the sides clashed at Kingspan/Breffni Park on Saturday last.
Cavan leapt out of the starting blocks early on but Fermanagh rolled up their sleeves thereafter and put behind them their sluggish start - which saw them go behind by 0-0 to 0-6 after 14 minutes - to win in gritty style.
'The lads showed an unbelievable workrate and we fully deserved to stay in the competition,' the Lisbellaw clubman opined after the game.
'I could tell in training during the week that the fellas were fully determined not to be beaten and even though we were short four first-teamers, we always looked the better team after our shaky start.
'I have to be honest and say that I didn"t fancy our chances in the run-up to the game because we only beat Cavan by a point in the (Ulster) championship and we came to Kingspan Breffni Park short four of our regular starting team.'
The shaky start referred to by O"Donnell saw the Ernesiders play second fiddle to a clearly fired-up Cavan side who attacked the town end of the pitch with vim and vigour and no little accuracy.
Ironically some of Cavan"s failings became all the more apparent as they raced into their none-too flattering six point lead with the team"s reliance on "forty yards man Paul Sheridan all too evident as the Mullahoran clubman accounted for all of side"s six opening points.
Sadly for the blues, that was as good as it got as the wheels dramatically came off the Cavan wagon as the second quarter beckoned.
Indeed, given the fact that the elements played no part in proceedings, it was extraordinary just how much the pendulum swung Fermanagh"s way from the 14th to the 34th minute.
The Ernesiders turned the game on it head by notching 1-9 without reply in a totally dominant 20 minute period.
Cavan - outgunned in the vital diamond area of the field - couldn"t get talisman Paul Sheridan on the ball enough despite the best efforts of chief ball-winner up front Mark McEntee and the running power of Philip Brady.
Cavan hung in there though but Andrew Breslin"s 30th minute goal was a real dagger in the Breffni side"s heart.
A point from half-back Matthew Teague in the 34th minute then left Cavan trailing by 0-6 to 1-9 before McEntee was at the heart of the move just before half-time which saw Edward Dalton resusitate Cavan"s cause with a goal from an acute angle.
Cavan consolidated their fightback moments before the short whistle with top-scorer Sheridan firing over a free.
Sadly for John Hunt"s men the visitors went onto consolidate their 1-9 to 1-7 interval lead with a David Slevin goal three minutes after the restart and from there on an air of inevitability hovered over proceedings.
As Cavan desperately chased the game, poor handling and hand-passing didn"t help their cause and when Fermanagh "keeper Peter McEvoy batted out Mark McEntee"s goal effort in the 41st minute, it seemed like Cavan"s goose was about to be cooked.
Cavan reshuffled their pack thereafter with Joe Lafferty going to full-back; Kieran Brennan moving to midfield and Michael Carr reverting to centre-forward in an attempt to de-rail Fermanagh"s destiny.
Cavan tried their damndest to pull the fat from the fire but Brendan McGarry"s major in the 68th minute eased Fermanagh over the finishing line with a bit to spare despite Mark McEntee"s injury time goal for Cavan.
The game ended on a sour and ugly note with the dismissal of three Cavan players and one from Fermanagh after a melee which was over as quickly as it started.
Cavan; M Curry; D Neary, M Carr, B Ryan; A Nelligan, A Sheridan (1-0), B Dalton; J Lafferty, D Crudden; E Dalton (1-0), P Sheridan (0-9, six frees, one 65), P Brady; S Og Brady, K Brennan, M McEntee (1-0).
Subs; A McManus for D Crudden; D Crudden for A Nelligan (inj); G Clerkin for S Og Brady; M O"Connell for P Brady; J Rosney for E Dalton.
Fermanagh; P McEvoy; C McTeague, F Bannon, S Curran; M Teague (0-1), D McGarry (0-4, two 65s, one free), M Slevin; E Gunn, M Beggan; J Duffy, D Curran 0-1), B McGarry (1-1); S Corrigan (0-8, five frees), D Slevin (1-0), A Breslin (1-0).
Subs; C McGarry for M Beggan; P Timoney for B McGarry.
Ref; D McGee (Down)