Cavan are back in the Ulster final for the first time since 2001 after they saw off Armagh in this gripping semi-final replay.
Oustanding performances from the likes of Killian Clarke, Dara McVeety and Conor Moynagh along with some fantastic saves from goalkeeper Ray Galligan proved crucial as Cavan ran out six-point winners before a crowd of 21,192 at a sunny St Tiernach’s Park.
Armagh spurned two clear-cut goal chances in the opening five minutes before Cavan punished them with scores from McVeety and Niall Murray (two) to ease into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead.
Moynagh and Gearoid McKiernan added two more as Cavan poured forward, with a Murray free and one from play by Clarke making it 0-7 to 0-2 – but the Blues were still living dangerously at the back, with Galligan saving smartly from Mark Shields.
The goalkeeper then boomed over a long-range free as Cavan moved 0-9 to 0-2 in front but Armagh finished the half strongly to go in three down, with Jamie Clarke influential.
Cavan started the second half well, with Oisin Kiernan helping stretch the gap to five, but with sub Stefan Campbell playing well and Jamie Clarke impressing, Armagh rallied to make it a one-point game.
Asked a big question, though, Cavan responded, with Moynagh, sub Cian Mackey, McVeety and McKiernan all landing quality points.
Cavan: R Galligan (0-03, 3f); J McLoughlin, P Faulkner, C Moynagh (0-02); M Reilly (0-01), K Clarke (0-01), C Rehill (0-01); C Brady, T Galligan; O Kiernan (0-01), D McVeety (0-04), N Murray (0-05, 4f); O Pierson (0-01), G McKiernan (0-03), C Madden.
Subs: C Mackey (0-01) for Madden (41), S Murray for T Galligan (47), C O’Reilly for Pierson (64), J Brady for Kiernan (74)
Armagh: B Hughes; R Kennedy, C Vernon, J Morgan; P Hughes, P Burns, A Forker; J Og Burns, N Grimley; A Nugent, M Shields (0-01), J Hall; R O’Neill (0-06, 4f), A Murnin, J Clarke (0-07, 3f).
Subs: S Campbell (0-02) for Nugent (28), R Grugan (0-01) for Murnin (43), B Crealey for Hall (56), J McElroy for Morgan (66), E Rafferty for J Og Burns (68)
Referee: P Neilan (Roscommon).
See this week’s print issue for full report, reaction and analysis