Raymond Galligan lifts the Allianz football league Division 3 title. Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO
breffni boost

Second-half surge steers Cavan to back-to-back league crowns

Mickey Graham’s side were crowned Division 3 champions after a six-point win over Fermanagh in Croke Park.

Cavan 0-16

Fermanagh 1-7

A MUCH-IMPROVED SECOND-HALF performance steered Cavan to a second consecutive Allianz football league title in Croke Park tonight.

Mickey Graham’s side lifted the Division 3 crown after a six-point win over Fermanagh in difficult conditions. Kieran Donnelly’s men may have won the dress rehearsal, but it was Cavan who added more silverware to their cabinet.

It also completed a Super Saturday for the county, with the hurlers crowned Division 3B champions earlier in the day.

Goalkeeper and captain Raymond Galligan top-scored with 0-4, his dead ball accuracy key for the Breffni in the second period.

They trailed by 1-3 to 0-5 at the break, Darragh McGurn’s 26th-minute goal ultimately moving the Erne county into the ascendency. 

But an impressive second-half showing from Cavan, including two separate runs of five unanswered points, and a man-of-the-match performance from Ciarán Brady steered Graham’s men to glory.

One stat told a story: 22 turnovers won for Cavan, compared to Fermanagh’s 13, and their Croke Park experience certainly paid dividends. 

ciaran-brady-and-conor-mcshea Cavan's Ciaran Brady and Conor McShea of Fermanagh. Lorraine O’Sullivan / INPHO Lorraine O’Sullivan / INPHO / INPHO

It was a cagey start at HQ, defensive and dour as both teams sized each other up. 

The first score didn’t arrive until the 12th minute, when Gearóid McKiernan got Cavan off the mark with a free. Paddy Lynch, who finished with 0-3 (2f), followed suit just after.

Shooting was wayward in relentless rain — particularly for Fermanagh — after slow build-ups at both ends. Donnelly’s men were yet to score when Graham showed no mercy in hooking young defender and yellow card recipient Jack McKenna in the 19th minute.

Two minutes later, Ryan Lyons finally raised Fermanagh’s first white flag. Cavan looked more likely to penetrate early on, with Ciarán Brady injecting life into the game with a powerful run and, separately, Cian McManus intercepting a goal chance.

Lynch and Lyons traded frees, before Ryan O’Neill fisted over to put Cavan into a 0-4 to 0-2 lead. It didn’t last long, however, with Darragh McGurn powering Fermanagh ahead with a 26th-minute goal. He finished beautifully after a fortuitous cross-goal pass from Luke Flanagan:

With momentum on their side, Ché Cullen lifted Fermanagh’s spirits further with an excellent block on Oisin Brady, but their shooting let them down. Cavan nabbed a much-needed equaliser on the cusp of half time, Lynch scoring their first from open play with an excellent individual effort which followed a brave Ciarán Brady challenge.

Fermanagh led 1-3 to 0-5 at the break, two monstrous scores from each side coming either side of it. Goalkeeper Seán McNally sent a long-range free over before the short whistle, while James Smith levelled matters on the restart with an influential point.

The second half belonged to Cavan. They brought a different energy and intensity, with Galligan (two frees and one ’45), Oisin Brady and Dara McVeety hitting five points on the spin from the 42nd to 53rd minutes to make it 0-11 to 1-4.

Fermanagh somehow kept the green flag down in that period, with three huge blocks and stops denying Padraig Faulkner, Conor Smith and Killian Clarke. Faulkner was superb on his 100th senior inter-county appearance, holding the in-form Ultan Kelm scoreless, while substitute Jason McLoughlin also won some big turnovers.

Ryan Jones eventually responded with Fermanagh’s first score since Aidan Breen pointed early in the second half, and they enjoyed a purple patch from there. Sean Quigley, limited to a substitute role, and Ryan Lyons (free) bagged three in-a-row as Cavan’s kickout malfunctioned.

the-cavan-team-celebrate-after-the-game Cavan celebrate. Lorraine O’Sullivan / INPHO Lorraine O’Sullivan / INPHO / INPHO

But they would be Fermanagh’s last scores. From the 62nd minute, Cavan powered home. They spurned goal chances and Fermanagh had a penalty call waved away as Faulkner shackled Quigley, but the Breffni dominated and ran out deserved winners.

McKiernan — who had a uncharacteristically quiet evening — Smith, Galligan (’45, before punching away at the other end), Oisín Brady and Conor Madden all clipped points down the home straight, as Cavan reigned supreme ahead of their Ulster championship tilt.

Scorers for Cavan: Raymond Galligan 0-4 (2f, 2 ’45), Paddy Lynch 0-3 (2f), Gearóid McKiernan (1f) and Oisin Brady both 0-2, Dara McVeety, Conor Madden, Ryan O’Neill, Conor Smith and James Smith all 0-1.

Scorers for Fermanagh: Ryan Lyons 0-3 (2f), Darragh McGurn 1-0, Sean McNally, Aidan Breen, Sean Quigley, Ryan Jones all 0-1.


1. Raymond Galligan (Lacken)

2. Niall Carolan (Cúchulainns), 3. Padraig Faulkner (Kingscourt Stars), 25. Jack McKenna (Laragh United)

5. Ciarán Brady (Arva), 6. Dara McVeety (Crosserlough), 7. Gerard Smith (Lavey)

8. Killian Clarke (Shercock), 9. James Smith (Crosserlough)

10. Jonathan McCabe (Arva), 11. Gearóid McKiernan (Cavan Gaels), 12. Cian Madden (Gowna)

13. Oisín Brady (Killygarry), 14. Paddy Lynch (Crosserlough), 15. Ryan O’Neill (Kildallan)


18. Conor Brady (Gowna) for Jack McKenna (19)

4. Jason McLoughlin (Shannon Gaels) for Niall Carolan (HT)

26. Conor Smith (Killygarry) for Ryan O’Neill (45)

21. Conor Madden (Gowna) for Gearóid McKiernan (62)

23. Tiernan Madden (Gowna) for Jonathan McCabe (65)


1. Seán McNally (Teemore)

2. Lee Cullen (Belnaleck), 3. Ché Cullen (Belnaleck), 4. Luke Flanagan (Derrylin)

5. Jonathan Cassidy (Enniskillen), 6. Shane McGullion (Derrygonnelly), 7. Cian McManus (Teemore)

8. Ryan Jones (Derrygonnelly), 9. Brandon Horan (Enniskillen)

10. Josh Largo Ellis (Na Cearna), 11. Ryan Lyons (Erne Gaels), 12. Ronan McCaffrey (Teemore)

13. Ultan Kelm (Erne Gaels), 14. Darragh McGurn (Belnaleck), 17. Aidan Breen (Tempo)


15. Sean Quigley (Rosslea) for Aidan Breen (41)

21. Declan McCusker (St Joseph’s) for Cian McManus (41)

23. Conor McShea (Enniskillen) for Josh Largo Ellis (51)

26. Oisin Smyth (Derrygonnelly) for Ultan Kelm (58)

22. Conor McGee (St Joseph’s) for Brandon Horan (72)

Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow).

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