Armagh just too hot for Fermanagh
Fermanagh 0-9 Armagh 2-10
And so another Ulster Under-21 Championship begins with a rather understated Armagh victory over Fermanagh in Brewster Park
Certainly in the opening stages it appeared that the home side would make an honest fist of things.
They secured possession with all their kickouts, Tiernan Daly and Ryan Hyde outstanding in that regard. But when they looked to progress they found an Armagh half-back line of Paudi Crilly, James King and Patrick Burns in ravenous mood for tackling.
The opening quarter took on the shape of tit-for-tat scoring. Conor McAleer looked lively in attack for Fermanagh in grabbing a brace of points, but in the main their sniffs of scores came from balls breaking off defenders and falling kindly.
When Armagh ran at Fermanagh through the middle – in particular the captain Aidan Forker and Niall McConville, there was a real menace to their possession. McConville scored two points in as many minutes to first level and then take the lead. As they opened that gap up to four with half time yawning it was no less than they deserved.
Conal Jones was to claw one back for Fermanagh before half-time to leave a goal margin at the interval.
That tally was to mean little as soon as the third minute of the second half when a ball played in the direction of Forker evaded both him and marker Aidan Breen, midfielder Ethan Rafferty following up to tuck it into the bottom corner of the net.
Fermanagh replied with two pointed frees, but another Orchard raid on 43 minutes with a 40 yard run by Simon McCoy in which he held off four defenders clad in green, ended with a similar soccer-style finish to the net by Jemar Hall.
Fermanagh stitched everything wide or shot, ending up with a total of wides and shots dropped short into double figures.
Down up next for Armagh. They won't get it so handy.
FERMANAGH: B McAleer; N Shannon, A Breen, L Cullen; B McCann, C Cullen, R Lyons (0-1, 1f); R Hyde, T Daly; J Duffy, K Connor, E Courtney (0-2, 2f); C McAleer (0-3, 1f), C Jones [Capt] (0-1), R Corrigan
Subs: S Lynch for Courtney [41m], J Feely (0-1) for Lyons [50m], R McGrade for L Cullen [56m], D Teague (0-1) for Corrigan [57m]
ARMAGH: C McKeown; R McCaughley, D Mullan, K McCooey; P Crilly, J King, P Burns; E Rafferty (1-1), P Carragher; S McCoy (0-1), N McConville (0-3, 1f), M McKenna (0-1); R Rafferty, A Forker [Capt] (0-1), J Hall (1-3)
Subs: R Finnegan for McCooey [inj. 9m], A Findon for Carragher [40m], P McGeown for Forker [48m], N Grimley for Rafferty [60m] D O'Neill for McCaughley [61m]
Referee: Shaun McLaughlin (Donegal).