Fermanagh manager Kieran Donnelly happy with confidence-boosting win over Cavan despite relegation

Erne boss rues missed opportunities in other games as they face Division Three football in 2025

Fermanagh's Joe McDade claims the kickout in the Allianz Football League Division Two match against Cavan at Kingspan Breffni on Saturday night Picture: Adrian Donohoe
Fermanagh's Joe McDade claims the kickout in the Allianz Football League Division Two match against Cavan at Kingspan Breffni on Saturday night Picture: Adrian Donohoe

Allianz Football League Division Two, round seven

Cavan 1-13 Fermanagh 2-14

WHILE Fermanagh won the battle at Kingspan Breffni, they ultimately lost the war as their impressive away win wasn’t enough to preserve their Division Two status.

However, the win on the road is a major confidence boost ahead of the Ulster Championship, stated manager Kieran Donnelly.

“That was important, just getting a performance today was massive. We had a tough week, probably similar to Cavan, after the result last week but we were just determined to try to reverse it,” Donnelly said.

“We had a good week at training, that was the one thing, I was very proud of our players. You learn more from failure, you learn more about yourself, and I thought the response on Tuesday and Thursday was excellent.

“With Championship just around the corner, we were just very focused on getting a good display and I’m just glad we did.”

Donnelly felt that, on reflection, the Ernemen could have retained their League status, with a couple of close matches going against them.

“I’ve enjoyed the League this year, as tough as it is, I felt our performance levels have been very high.

“As a squad and a team, the way we managed the ball and controlled certain games.

“We left the Cork game behind us, there’s no doubt about that, we should have got over the line against Meath as well so there’s regret when you look back on some of the games.

“But with the Championship so close now, all you focus on now is can the players lift themselves, can you get your performance levels as high as you did previously, and the players did that so that will give us a bounce going into the next two or three weeks.

“That’s vital because we have Armagh, as tough as they come.”

Garvan Jones turned in a break-out performance, landing 1-8 (1-7 from play) and generally terrorising the Cavan defence. Garvan has been excellent, he’s had a good league, himself and Sean Cass have a great partnership.

“Garvan has just brought that level of assuredness in front of goals, he’s a sweet striker of the ball, he has that physical presence as well and I suppose his key scores at critical junctures of the game were big.

“I’m delighted for him because he has worked hard to get a starting place and thoroughly deserved it and backed it up today.”

Cavan manager Raymond Galligan Picture: Adrian Donohoe.
Cavan manager Raymond Galligan Picture: Adrian Donohoe.

Meanwhile, in the blue corner, manager Raymond Galligan was puzzled as to where his side’s flat first-half performance came from, admitting that poor first halves have become a trend for his side.

“In the lead-in I definitely thought the application and the focus from the lads was exactly where we wanted it.

“We didn’t get out of the blocks, it seems to be a trend, disappointing because we felt the players were in a really good place,” the Lacken Celtic clubman said.

“But when you have a situation there that Fermanagh were in, they showed they really, really wanted it… but definitely, we would be disappointed with our first half, there’s no doubt about that and it’s something we are going to have to look into.

“We had a number of opportunities, we had 13 shots in the first half, but we went in five points down. We were creating great chances and 15 minutes in, we probably should have been three or four points up and instead we found ourselves two or three points down.

“It’s fine margins, we’re definitely creating the chances but that’s an area we need to work on, being more clinical because it could have been a different score going in at half-time, that’s for sure.”