Gaelic GamesRound-up

Division Three: Cavan and Fermanagh book their places in second tier for 2024

Down end Offaly’s promotion hopes as Fermanagh beat Cavan to take top spot

Fermanagh 1-14 Cavan 2-9

Fermanagh produced a passionate performance at Kingspan Breffni to seal promotion and a place in the NFL Division 3 decider.

They will fancy their chances of beating Cavan again at Croke Park next weekend but the omens weren’t good for them on Sunday when, after just 38 seconds, Jonathan McCabe palmed the ball to the net after James Smith’s angled effort rebounded off the Fermanagh crossbar.

Fermanagh were well fired-up though and they replied to Cavan’s shock early goal with textbook points from Breen, McGurn and Lyons to draw level after just 11 minutes.

However, the Ernesiders looked vulnerable at the back under the high ball and in the 22nd minute Killian Clarke outjumped Fermanagh goalkeeper McNally and the retreating McGurn to flick Jack McKenna’s speculative 42 metre effort into the visitors’ net.


Cavan looked in the mood as they stretched their legs after the break and Gearóid McKiernan opened his account for the day by notching the two opening points of the second half to make it a five point game, 2-5 to 0-6.

The game became a cagey affair in the third quarter but Fermanagh gained the momentum entering the final straight when Ultan Kelm’s terrific solo goal – from a Ryan Lyons pass – catapulted the visitors into the lead (1-10 to 2-6) for the first time in the match with 56 minutes on the clock.

Fermanagh finished the stronger and unanswered points from Jones, Lyons (two) and Kelm between the 63rd and 71st minutes proved enough to set up another meeting of the sides.

CAVAN: R Galligan (0-1, ‘45); C Reilly, P Faulkner, N Carolan; C Brady, J Smith, T Madden; J McKenna, K Clarke (1-0); Cian Madden, O Brady (0-5, all frees), J McCabe (1-0); G McKiernan (0-2, one free), B Boylan, Conor Madden.

Subs: S Smith for Cian Madden (h-t), C Smith for J McKenna (46 mins), J McLoughlin for C Reilly (52), R O’Neill (0-1) for Conor Madden (58), M Reilly for B Boylan (68), K Brady for N Carolan (71).

FERMANAGH: S McNally; L Cullen, C Cullen, L Flanagan; J Cassidy, S McGullion, C McManus; R Jones (0-3), B Horan; J Largo-Ellis, R Lyons (0-4, two frees), R McCaffrey; U Kelm (1-3), D McGurn (0-2), A Breen (0-1).

Subs: C McShea for A Breen (46 mins), S Quigley (0-1, free) for R McCaffrey (48), C McGee for D McGurn (66), D McCusker for J Largo-Ellis (70), F O’Brien for L Flanagan (74).

Referee: T Murphy (Galway)

Offaly 0-9 Down 1-18

Despite promotion being out of reach, Down were very much focused on doing the right thing as they brushed Offaly aside in Tullamore on Sunday.

Offaly needed to win here and Cavan to beat Fermanagh to go up but neither result happened on a disappointing day for them. Instead, they were blown out of the water by a rampant Down in the second half as they ran out of ideas.

Offaly were in a good position at the break. With Cavan leading Fermanagh up north and them trailing here by three points after playing into the wind, promotion was within touching distance. The sides had been level on five occasions in the first half and Down outscored the home side by four points to one in the closing 12 minutes to lead by 0-9 to 0-6 at the break.

A well taken Liam Kerr goal put Down 1-10 to 0-7 ahead after 44 minutes and ended it as a contest. Down played their best football after this, firing over six excellent points to lead by 1-16 to 0-7 with just under 10 minutes left. That was that as Down retained their advantage very comfortably to the final whistle.

DOWN: N Kane (0-1 free); P Fegan, R McEvoy (0-1), P Laverty; R Johnston (0-2), N McParland, G Collins; A Doherty, C Fitzpatrick; M Rooney (0-1), E Branagan (0-3), D Magill (0-2); L Kerr (1-0), P Havern (0-2), R Mason (0-2, one free). Subs: D McAleenan for Kerr (49 mins), C McRickard (0-3) for Havern (53), A Morgan (0-1) for Fitzpatrick (57), C Francis for Johnston (58), O McCabe for McParland (65).

OFFALY: I Duffy; C Donnelly, D Hogan, D Dempsey; L Pearson, P Cunningham, R Egan; J McEvoy, C McNamee; C Donohoe (0-1), R McNamee, A Sullivan (0-1); B Allen (0-2), Nigel Dunne (0-3, all frees), D Hyland. Subs: J Bryant (0-1) for Dunne and J Evans for Donohoe (both 47 mins), J Maher for Ruari McNamee and B Carroll for Hyland (both 53), C Farrell (0-1 free) for Sullivan (59).

Referee: S Mulhare (Laois)

Westmeath 1-13 Tipperary 0-10

Despite being a man down for more than half the game, Westmeath comfortably won a dead rubber Division 3 contest in very pleasant conditions in Mullingar.

Stephen Smith, replacing long-time talisman John Heslin, scored Westmeath’s opening two points (the first of them from a free), and Luke Loughlin pounced for the home team’s third point in the 18th minute at the end of a patient move.

However, Dessie Dolan’s troops were disjointed during the second quarter allowing the Premier County men to come right back into contention. A brace of terrific points from Stephen Quirke and Mikey O’Shea preceded the sending off of Westmeath wing back Anthony McGivney, who picked up his second yellow card in the 32nd minute. Jack Kennedy converted a 34th-minute free to tie up the scoring at 0-3 apiece at the end of a very low-key first half.

Westmeath upped their game on the change of ends, and both Ronan O’Toole and Loughlin caused endless headaches for David Power’s defence. Centre half back Ronan Wallace also excelled in the second moiety during which he scored three outstanding points.

Westmeath deservedly led by 0-8 to 0-6 when Loughlin’s precise pass picked out Lorcan Dolan who duly blasted the ball past Michael O’Reilly in the 50th minute. This effectively ended the game as a contest. The winners were denied a second goal in the 68th minute, O’Reilly doing superbly to keep out a James Dolan shot at the end of a great move.

WESTMEATH: J Daly; D Giles, K Maguire, J Dolan; A McGivney, R Wallace (0-3), D Lynch; S McCartan (0-1), A McCormack; J Lynam, R O’Toole (0-4, one free), R Forde; L Dolan (1-0), S Smith (0-2, one free), L Loughlin (0-2). Subs: J Smith for McCormack (half-time), C Dillon for Forde (45 mins), T Molloy for S Smith (58 mins), S Dempsey (0-1) for L Dolan (63 mins), J Gonoud for Giles (65 mins).

TIPPERARY: M O’Reilly; S O’Connell, J Feehan, W Eviston; J Harney, K Fahey, C O’Shaughnessy; P Feehan (0-1), M Russell; E Moloney, J Kennedy (0-4, four frees), K Ryan; M O’Shea (0-1), S Quirke (0-2), C Deely (0-1). Subs: T Maher for O’Connell (32 mins), S O’Connor (0-1) for Eviston (43 mins), R Quigley for O’Shea (43 mins), M Kehoe for Russell (54 mins), C Cadell for Quirke (65 mins).

Referee: C Dourneen (Cavan).

Longford 3-17 Antrim 3-12

With nothing at stake for either county, already relegated Longford produced a fine performance to record their first win of the league campaign in the final game in Division 3.

Despite both counties playing for just pride there were some fantastic scores in a game that was played in a good sporting manner.

Longford made a great start to the game and were ahead by eight points after 13 minutes of play. Keelin McGann with his, and his side’s first goal in the 13th minute. Antrim’s first real attack yielded a goal with Colm McLarnon racing through before firing to the net.

Two minutes later Ruairi McCann got Antrim’s second goal to cut the gap to two points. Both sides exchanged points before Longford hit a purple patch with full-forward Daire O’Brien hitting over three marks and a fine point from play. The Midlanders held a six-point lead at the break- 1-13 to 2-04.

Longford extended their lead further in the 40th minute when Darragh Doherty picked up possession about 40 metres out from goal and soloed through before hitting a terrific strike past Ronan Hanna.

Antrim were back in the game in the 52nd minute when Patrick McCormick found the back of the net with a fine finish. Patrick McBride followed up with a point to cut the deficit to three in the 53rd minute. Once again Longford’s response was excellent and McGann hit a fine effort for Longford’s third goal in the 63rd minute.

Antrim weren’t giving up yet and three points left four between the sides entering stoppage time.

Dylan Farrell hit over a superb free in stoppage time. Deep in stoppage time the Saffrons were awarded a free, and McCann’s effort was blocked and tipped over the bar for a point and the last score of the game.

LONGFORD: M Hughes; P Fox (0-1), A Farrell, Byran Masterson; P Lynn, M Quinn, P Foy; T McNevin, F Sheridan (0-1); K McGann (2-2), D Doherty (1-2), O Kenny (0-2, two frees); A Farrell; D O’Brien (0-4, three marks), D Farrell (0-4, three frees, one ‘45).

Subs: J Kiernan for Sheridan (49), R Harkin for Quinn (53), D Gallagher (0-1, one free) for Kenny (61), C Keenan for Doherty (63), Daniel Reynolds for O’Brien (65).

ANTRIM: R Hanna; E McCabe, D Lynch, J McAuley; P McCormick (1-1), B McCormick, M Jordan; C McLarnon (1-1), J Dowling; C Hynds, R McCann (1-4, four frees), P McBride (0-1); D McEnhill, S McGarry, O Eastwood (0-2).

Subs: P Finnegan for Hynds, R Murray (0-2, two frees) for McGarry and P Healy (0-1) for McCabe (half-time), L Mulholland for Hanna (47), J Finnegan for Lynch (51).

Referee: N McKenna (Monaghan)