breffni joy Cavan cause seismic shock as they see off Donegal to claim Ulster crown
Cavan 1-13 Donegal 0-12
A day that already had one significant milestone with Tipperary's first Munster football title win in 85 years, took another dramatic twist when Cavan shocked three-in-row chasing Donegal in the Ulster final at Armagh's Atheltic Grounds.
The defending champions were left rooted to the ground as Cavan, playing a sixth game in sixth weeks and overcoming the handicap of having two black carded players, one in either half, finished strongest with a late Conor Madden goal making sure of a first provincial title since 1997.
It capped an extraordinary day and ensured that the same teams which contested the 1920 All-Ireland championship semi-finals - Dublin, Mayo, Tipperary and Cavan - are together down the home straight 100 years later. You really couldn't make it up!
But it was no ambush and the win for Cavan was fully merited, given how they continued to hound their opponents, most people's favourites to give Dublin a run for their money this year.
For the opening 10 minutes a feeling that something special could be on the cards was prevalent, obviously not on the historical or emotional scale of Pairc Ui Chaoimh earlier in the afternoon, but hugely significant nonetheless.
Little things just pointed in the general direction of another seismic shock. Bad Donegal decision-making, hesitancy, a Shaun Patton kick-out whipping straight out over a sideline, things like that which suggested Donegal were off.
And Cavan felt different too, determined to avoid the direction the corresponding game in Clones last year and re-invigorated by their bumpy championship ride so far that had taken them past Monaghan, Antrim and Down.
They opened up a 0-5 to 0-2 lead by the 10th minute but then lost Killan Brady to the first black card and lost the next 10 minutes by 0-5 to 0-0 as Donegal settled.
But Donegal weren't making a deep impression and Cavan sensed that, and by the break were still just two points adrift, 0-9 to 0-7.
Both sides had goal chances but Eoin McHugh got down to block Martin Reilly on 11 minutes, just before Brady's departure, while Chris Conroy cleared off his own line after Eoghan Ban Gallagher scorched through on 19 minutes with the goal at his mercy.
Donegal still couldn't find their groove in the second half and Cavan threatned at the other end when James Smith shot wide from close range with Michael Murphy putting pressure on.
Raymond Galligan made great saves from Peadar Mogan, Jamie Brennan and, late on, Ciaran Thompson throughout the half, while in beteween Shaun Patton made a great block from Martin Reilly who went straight through.
But Patton also made the error that led to the clinching Cavan goal on 71 minutes when Conor Madden, on three times as a blood substitute in the first half and then black-carded for a slightly late challenge on Eoin McHugh, pounced after the Donegal 'keeper dropped Geraoid McKiernan's speculative free-kick from Thomas Galligan's brilliant fetch.
Afterwards, Cavan's Padraig Faulkner admitted he had heard of Tipperary's win on the radio as they drove to Armagh and it had helped to inspire them.
An extraordinary end to an extraordinary day.
Scorers - Cavan: C Madden 1-2, J Smith, G McKiernan (2fs), O Kiernan all 0-2 each, J McLoughlin, G Smith, C Brady, T Galligan, M Reilly all 0-1 each. Donegal: P McBrearty 0-4 (2fs), N O'Donnell, C McGonagle 0- 2 each, R McHugh, P Mogan, M Langan, M Murphy all 0-1 each.
Cavan: R Galligan; C Brady, L Fortune, P Faulkner; G Smith, K Clarke, K Brady; G McKiernan, J Smith; C Conroy, O Kiernan, J McLoughlin; M Reilly, T Galligan, C Smith.
Subs: C Madden for C Smith blood (9-15), C Madden for Galligan blood (26-32), C Madden for C Smith blood (35) N Murray for Conroy (55), C Smith for Reilly (72)
Donegal: S Patton; N McGee, B McCole, E McHugh; R McHugh, P Brennan, EB Gallagher; H McFadden, C McGonagle; P Mogan, M Murphy, M Langan; P McBrearty, N O'Donnell, J Brennan. Subs: A McLean for P Brennan (46), D O Baoill for E McHugh (55), C Thompson for McBrearty (57), J McGee for O'Donnell (68)
Referee: B Cassidy (Derry)