Allianz Football League: Cavan promoted despite defeat as Fermanagh edge win

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Odhran Eastwood scored 0-6 for Antrim as they held on to Division Three leaders Cavan at Corrigan Park

Cavan are promoted to Division 2 of the Allianz Football League despite a surprise 17-2 12-1 loss to Antrim, while Fermanagh kept their hopes alive with a 15-0 8-2 win over Westmeath.

The Breffnimen came close to earning a comeback win over Antrim at Corrigan Park from a 10-point deficit.

Fermanagh joins Cavan on 10 points at the top of the table but the Breffnimen can no longer be denied promotion.

Their head-to-head record means they finish ahead of Offaly or Down.

However, Fermanagh’s loss to Offaly in round two means they could still be overtaken by the Midlanders for promotion.

Offaly moved up to eight points – two behind Cavan and Fermanagh – after beating Tipperary 2-14 to 0 on Saturday in an emotionally charged game following the death of Offaly manager Liam Kearns, whose managerial career also included a spell, last weekend: 13 had defeated in charge of the Premier County.

Antrim’s win is a huge boost to their prospects of avoiding relegation and they will be mathematically safe when Down defeats Longford later on Saturday.

Cavan hosts Fermanagh next weekend

Cavan hosts Fermanagh in the final round of play next Sunday with Offaly at home against Down.

After Cavan defeated Offaly in round four, the Breffnimen will oust Faithful County in a neck-and-neck race if beaten by Fermanagh.

However, Cavan and Offaly’s victories next weekend will see the Midlanders join Breffni County in a bid to secure promotion as they would defeat Fermanagh in a neck-and-neck race after beating the Ernemen in Lap have ousted two at Tullamore.

At Corrigan Park, Aghagallon’s Ruairi McCann’s goal gave the relegation-threatened Saffrons a 10-point lead after 39 minutes.

A Conor Madden goal cut Antrim’s lead to two after 66 minutes, and it was just one when Paddy Lynch scored to 74.

But Patrick McBride’s fifth point for Antrim helped them earn an important win in their battle to avoid relegation.

McBride’s decisive 75th-minute free-kick came after it was reinstated by Antrim manager Andy McEntee as the Saffrons threatened to throw away another seemingly safe winning position after their late collapse against Down in round two.

At Ederney, Fermanagh led 9-0 to 4-0 against Westmeath and while Luke Loughlin and David Lynch reduced the lead to just one with two goals in a minute, a late point from Che Cullen helped the Ernemen make it 0-0 hold. 15 to 2-8 win.

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Marc Jordan was on the scoresheet for Antrim in the opening period as they led 1-7, 0-4 at half-time

Cavan unhappy about McBride’s closure

There was an element of controversy over McBride’s closing point as Cavan felt he had legally turned the ball over, but instead Tyrone’s referee Kieran Eannetta called an antrim free.

McBride was outstanding before being substituted in the 56th minute but he was not Antrim’s top scorer as St Enda’s man Odhran Eastwood went 6-0 – including four from the game – in a sensational performance.

After five straight wins, Cavan came on to avoid defeat to guarantee promotion to Division Two, but her performance was a long way off in the opening 50 minutes before her late revival nearly stole the win against the jiggling Saffrons had.

After Antrim again incorporated two Ruairi McCanns into his attack as they played downwind in the opening phase, the Aghagallon version scored their first goal in the sixth minute when he latched a high ball into the Cavan defense before passing to Raymond Galligan missed .

At first, Cavan appeared to have stabilized as goals from Lynch and Cian cut Madden Madden’s lead to just one and they were still just two down after 19 minutes, but the Saffrons went on to score four straight points before the break, with the informed attacking duo of McBride and Eastwood scores two apiece.

Antrim holds out despite Cavan’s race to catch up

Despite halftime introductions from Gearoid McKiernan and James Smith, Cavan’s performance didn’t initially improve after the restart as two more McBride points started a string of four more unanswered Antrim results to put the Saffrons 10 ahead by the 39th minute .

A Raymond Galligan 45 finally ended the 29-minute Cavan drought, but Antrim still seemed in total control with 10 minutes left as they led 1-14 to 8-0.

However, Cavan suddenly reduced the deficit to just three after 64 minutes when on points from McKiernan and Galligan Conor Madden made it 1-1 in 60 seconds.

A point from Conor Smith further reduced Antrim’s lead before two Eastwood points seemed to have the Saffrons in some control again as they restored a four-point lead as the game went into injury time.

However, six extra minutes were signaled and after Antrim got away happily when James Smith narrowly missed a chance to score, Lynch fired into the net in the 74th minute to reduce the lead to a minimum.

Cavan thought they forced a turnover in the fifth minute of added time when Killian Brady appeared to dispossess Antrim substitute Seamus McGarry, but the Saffrons were awarded a free which McBride slotted in to complete their important win.

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