Donegal will meet defending champions Monaghan in the Ulster MFC semi-finals thanks to a power-packed second-half display at Kingspan Breffni.
Cavan 2-7 Donegal 1-18
By Kevin Carney at Breffni Park
In what was a winner-take-all affair, the visitors made hay in the sunny conditions following the red carding of Cavan full-back Peter Smith just one minute shy of the half-time break after his late tackle on Donegal half-back Conor Coyle.
Gary Duffy’s dynamos enjoyed a turbo-charged start to the game and never really looked back as they enjoyed a 0-6 to 0-1 lead after just ten minutes.
Cavan roared back from their hesitant start to the game with a Cian Farrelly goal (27) cutting Donegal’s lead to a manageable 0-10 to 1-5 at the half-time break.
However, the points soon flowed from the visitors as 14-man Cavan tired with midfielder Eoin Dowling impressing as Donegal intelligently exploited the wide open spaces and their extra manpower.
Jonathan McGroddy led the way for the visitors up front with some splendid points as Cavan withered badly in the third quarter.
As things panned out, an opportunist goal (48) by sub. Shane Monaghan had Donegal rubbed further salt into Cavan’s gaping wound.
There was to be no Lazarus-like comeback for the homesters as the winners-elect proceeded to notch seven unanswered points to make it 1-18 to 1-7 by the hour mark.
Cavan never gave up the ghost but Sean McEvoy’s fine solo goal (63) proved scant consolation as they exited the competition; leaving their opponents to prepare for another outing in the last four of the competition.
Cavan: A Murray; C Reilly, Peter Smith (0-1), Ronan Trainor; C Farrelly (1-0), J McCahill, C McCabe (0-1); P Smyth, C McGovern (0-1); S McEvoy (1-0), F O’Reilly, T Madden (0-1); E Kelly, D McGurren (0-2, 1f), J Tully.
Subs: S Tynan for R Trainor (41;J Mooney (0-1) for C Farrelly (44); C McKiernan for E Kelly (47); M McGahern for F O’Reilly (50); C O’Reilly for D Mc Gurren (56).
Donegal: D Roberts; J Grant, K Tobin, D Dorrian; C Coyle, J Gallagher (0-1), R McShane; K Dunleavy, E Dowling (0-4, 1f); C O’Reilly, P O’Hare (0-1), C Moore (0-2); J McGroddy (0-7, 3f), E Carr (0-3), E de Burca.
Sub: S Monaghan (1-0) for C Reilly (inj, 24); R O’Rourke for E de Burca (42); E Martin for P O’Hare (56); S Meehan for K Tobin (58); A Calmon for J Grant (59); M Gallagher for E Carr (61).
Referee: D Mullan (Derry)