In a game that bordered on the cusp of falling apart due to the nature of the hitting, Cavan used a sparkling performance by Gearoid McCarthy to get their first points of the season with the minimum margin of victory.
While two men went to the line, one from each side, certainly another couple could have gone, such was the nature of the late hitting. The number of yellows given out also could have doubled.
At the end of the contest two points from McCarthy were the difference as they withstood an Armagh comeback that just fell short.
Armagh had four of the first six points to go into the lead 4-2 on 12 minutes. They were already using the long ball into the full forward line and it worked on a number of occasions to create scores.
Ciaran Conlon was showing intelligently inside, and the side was isolating two men in the full forward line. Two McCarthy points had the sides level for the second time on 17 minutes with McCarthy. who is a brother of defender Denis, proving to be a very dangerous individual.
Cavan went ahead when Shane Williams fired a free over from the right side when Sean McGivney was fouled, but three points from Armagh as the half wound down had the Orchard men back in front.
Conlon had two of the scores as he proved to be a huge addition to the side that won the intermediate title last season. Williams had his second free over the lathe just before the break for Cavan, and they went into the dressing room down by the minimum 0-7 to 0-6.
After two wides and a dropped short effort in the opening six minutes of the second half, Cavan went into the lead for the second time in the contest. Paddy McCullough and Kevin Smith were involved before Williams put the finishing touch to a drive with a goal.
It was followed by a point each from the big midfielders Paddy McCullough and Steven Harold to extend the Cavan advantage to 1-8 to 0-7.
McCullough was proving to be the best player of the middle four, and his strong running and high fielding was crucial to his sides play.
James Moynagh had a point in reply for Armagh, and they had a glorious chance to draw level 22 minutes in. A long ball into the forward line was snatched by Conlon. He was fouled by Alan Carolan, and Garth Kelly stepped up to take the resulting penalty kick, a bullet to the roof of the net on the left side.
The game was all square with eight minutes left on the clock. By this juncture both sides had lost a player to red cards and the game was still up for grabs.
It was Cavan who started to advance. They used early ball out of the defense to set up McCarthy for chances. The deadly corner forward made no mistake on each occasion to give the side a two-point lead with time winding down.
Armagh did have a goal chance when Conlon got free in front of goal. He was crowded out, however, by a three man defensive rush and the chance went for naught.
Conlon did fire over a free with a minute left, but Cavan won the resulting kickout and were able to hold on to possession for the win.
Cavan had a host of stars in the victory. Paul Lambe did a lot of covering at the back, with Ronan McGinley also impressive. Paddy McCullough was dominating the middle of the park before he received his second yellow, a harsh decision at the time.
Kevin Smith, Shane Williams and Paddy Smith covered a lot of ground while Gearoid McCarthy was outstanding.
Caolan Short and Kevin McGeeney were the best of the Armagh backs, with Garth Kelly working hard around the 40. James Moynagh took his scores well, while Ciaran Conlon showed he will have a big season in New York this year.
Cavan: 1 Maurice Power, 2 Paul Lambe, 3 Alan Carolan, 4 Ciaran Martin, 5 Barry McGinn, 6 Ronan McGinley, 7 Denis McCarthy, 8 Paddy McCullough (0-1), 9 Steven Harold (0-1), 10 Shane Williams (1-1), 11 Kevin Smith (0-1), 12 Brendan Reilly (0-1), 13 Gearoid McCarthy (0-5), 14 Joe McKeown, 15 Paddy Smith. Subs: Sean McGivney.
Armagh: 1 Alan Hearty, 2 Eoghan McPartland, 3 Patsy Martin, 4 Stewart Stokes, 5 Caolan Short, 6 Kevin McGeeney, 7 Aiden Morton, 8 James Donnelly, 9 Garth Kelly (1-1), 10 Richie Morgan, 11 Conor King (0-1), 12 James Moynagh (0-3), 13 Ciaran Conlon (0-4), 14 Seamus Toner, 15 Collie Fearan.
Man of the match: Gearoid McCarthy (Cavan).
Referee: John Fitzpatrick.
Gaelic Park in the Bronx, NY