Ballinagh demonstrated their credentials as defending Cavan SFC champions tonight as they brushed aside Denn with an impressive second-half display at Kingspan Breffni Park.
Niall McDermott's splendid tally of 0-8 was salient for the winners as they weathered the storm of a 42nd minute goal from Ben Conaty that looked to have Denn in pole position heading for the final quarter.
Darragh McCarthy's side hit their richest from in that time though, outscoring their opponents 0-8 to 1-2 with their ace attacker to the fore down the game's decisive stretch, leaving them a win away from a quarter-final berth, while Denn now find themselves in a relegation battle for their senior status.
The teams were level four times in the first 20 minutes, with Colin Kiernan opening Denn's account inside 30 seconds after cracking over a sweet score from his centre-forward post.
A McDermott free had Ballinagh off the mark a minute later before they tallied two wides which allowed their opponents to retake the lead by the sixth minute after Martin Cahill did well to set-up Cian McCann to raise the umpire's white flag.
Kevin Smith got the champions' first score from play on 10 minutes, after Colin Gumley's blocked effort landed in the path of the centre-forward, but Denn had their tails firmly up when Tomas Corr's blistering run was halted by Padraic O'Reilly and Dean Hyland pointed the resultant free.
McDermott (free) and Cahill traded singles to keep it at the minimum before Killian McBride belied his defensive duties to bring the sides level for the fourth time.
Denn were keen to keep their noses in front though and opened up the first two-point lead of the game in the 26th minute when goalkeeper Brian Boylan backed up a McCann free with a well struck '45'.
McDermott had his third free cancelled out by opposite number Hyland but Ballinagh had enough of a push in them before half-time to grab a brace of points via Eamon McEvoy that sent them in level on 0-7 apiece.
McCarthy's charges looked to pick up where they left off for the start of the second-half and they gained their first lead a minute into the restart via a McDermott free. Terry Smith soon doubled the advantage from his full-forward station but in the space of four minutes Denn had wiped out their opponents' good work with a Hyland free and Kiernan notching over his second of the game.
Gumley lashed over a trademark point in response but the Crosskeys men were beginning to find a bit more joy and landed a major blow when Ferghal Farrelly cut through from the right corner, offloaded to Conaty and the youngster drilled in low past Declan Beard to the net.
McEvoy hit a quick response for the holders and for the next five minutes it would be 'The Niall McDermott Show' as the Cavan attacker shot over three points (all from play) in the space of five minutes - the first a gem after gathering a quickly taken free from O'Reilly, turning and splitting the posts from 40 metres.
A Hyland free aimed to stop the rot but it couldn't halt the game getting away from Denn as McEvoy, Gumely and McDermott all extended their personal tallies in another profitable five-minute spell for McCarthy's men.
Substitutes Ronan Reilly and Ryan McCabe each cancelled out each other's contributions late on before Smith sailed over a beauty to put the icing on the cake for Ballinagh, with a last minute penalty from Kiernan only acting as consolation for their counterparts.
Ballinagh: Declan Beard; Damien McInerny, Anthony Gaynor, Killian McBride (0-1); Philip Bogue, Conor Smith, Niall O'Reilly; Padraic O'Reilly, David Finnegan; Eamon McEvoy (0-4), Kevin Smith (0-2), Enda Brady; Niall McDermott (0-8, 4f), Terry Smith (0-1), Colin Gumley (0-2). Subs: Patrick Carroll for P Bogue (48mins), Ronan Reilly (0-1) for T Smith (50), Blake Carthy for E Brady (58).
Denn: Brian Boylan (0-1, '45); Cormac Cusack-Smith, Adrian Cahill, Damien Callaghan; Stephen McPartland, Martin Cahill (0-1), Noel Crowe; Tomas Corr, Padraig McGovern; Cian McCann (0-2, 2f), Colin Kiernan (1-2, 1 pen), Shane Rehill; Ferghal Farrelly, Dean Hyland (0-4, 4f), Ben Conaty (1-0). Subs: Jerome Kiernan for D Hyland (53mins), Ryan McCabe (0-1) for C McCann (54), Cillian Brady for D Callaghan (58), Brandon Keogan for S Rehill (60).
Ref: Thomas Doonan (Templeport)