Fermanagh relegated to Division Three despite victory over Cavan

Louth victory over Kildare ensures Ernemen drop down alongside Lilywhites

Joe McDade, James Smith and Killian Clarke contest the kickout as players from both sides await the outcome. Photo: Adrian Donohoe.
Joe McDade, James Smith and Killian Clarke contest the kickout as players from both sides await the outcome. Picture:
Allianz National Football League Division Two: Cavan 1-13 Fermanagh 2-14

FERMANAGH have dropped straight back down to Division Three – despite an impressive victory over neighbours Cavan at Kingspan Breffni.

Four defeats in-a-row left the Ernemen in a perilous position heading into Saturday night’s final Division Two game, needing to beat the Breffnimen and hope already-relegated Kildare could get the better of Leinster rivals Louth.

And Kieran Donnelly’s side held up their end of the bargain, bouncing back from the previous weekend’s hammering at the hands of the Wee County to defeat a Cavan side whose safety was already secured, with defeat to Armagh seven days earlier ending any lingering promotion ambitions.

Fermanagh came out and played like a side with something at stake, showing more aggression in the tackle and attacking with far greater intent than Ryan Galligan’s side as their survival mission showed promise early on.

A Sean Cassidy goal cemented the Ernemen’s dominance on the half hour, the Ederney ace found in acres of space by man of the match Garvan Jones before lashing beyond Gary O’Rourke to extend their lead to five, 1-5 to 0-3.

With Kildare leading Louth by a point in Carlow, there was tentative hope among the Fermanagh following.

However, despite a second goal coming seven minutes into the second half – Jones converting this time after being played in by Lee Cullen – Louth had also come flying out of the blocks at Netwatch Cullen Park, edging four clear to dent Fermanagh dreams of staying up.

Although they were surely aware of what was happening elsewhere, the Erne County’s intensity level didn’t drop.

A stunning Paddy Lynch finish to the net finally gave the home support something to cheer, but Cavan never looked like closing the gap as Fermanagh continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

It was a hollow victory in the end, though, with Louth completing Kildare’s clean sweep of Division Two defeats to ensure it is the Ernemen who join them on the way down.