Derry and Fermanagh bound for third division
Visitors Derry beat Fermanagh 1-03 to 0-01
Fermanagh and Derry will both play in division three next year with a Carlus McWilliams point in the 5th minute of injury time securing the win for the visitors. Failing to win sealed Fermanagh’s fate while an equalising point for Down against Cork condemned Derry to the drop.
James Keilt saw red for Derry in injury time after an incident involving Fermanagh’s Paddy Rehill that saw the latter receive a black card. The Kilrea man will now miss their championship opener with Tyrone.
The visitors outscored Fermanagh 1-03 to 0-01 in the final 18 minutes of the game. The home support may have been frustrated that referee Martin McNally of Monaghan played five minutes of injury time when three had been flashed up on the board but in truth the Erne men can have little to complain about.
They had control of the game when four points up with 22 minutes played of the second half but failed to drive on and when Conor McAtamney crashed home his second goal of the game to tie things up all the momentum was with the Derry men.
McAtamney had raised a green flag inside the first sixteen seconds of the game. Derry won the throw in and the midfielder ghosted in behind the defence and gobbled up a neat flick from Emmett McGuckin in the Fermanagh square to hammer home.
Derry failed to drive home any sort of advantage however and they were guilty of shooting four wides in a ten minute period as Fermanagh came back into the game. Sean Quigley was the scorer in chief for the home side with accurate place kicking. He hit five first half placed balls with Barry Mulrone and Eoin Donnelly contributing scores from play.
At the other end Derry were finding it hard to break down a more resolute home defence where Ryan McCluskey was sweeping in front of the full back line. Enda Lynn and Benny Herron split the posts with Niall Loughlin registering a point from a free.
The teams were all square entering the final minute of the first half when a brilliant Fermanagh move involving McCluskey and Declan McCusker released Lee Cullen one on one but as he rounded the keeper Danny Heavron got back to make a lass ditch tackle.
Quigley pinged over the resultant 45’ to send the home side in one point ahead at the break. On the resumption it was Pete McGrath’s side who were the more authoritative and they opened up with two quick scores, the first a Quigley free followed up by a beauty with the outside of the foot from Declan McCusker. Keilt, who had been introduced at the start of the second half, shot a free in reply before Paul McCusker fisted a point at the other end. There was a glimpse of a goal for the Ederney man but he opted for safety and a white flag to stretch the lead to three.
Kielt was causing plenty of bother in the Erne defence and he stroked over a fine score form play but it was still Fermanagh who were looking the more likely winners. Declan McCusker added another cracking effort form play with Quigley adding a point from a free to stretch the lead to four but this was as good as it got for the home side.
Another Kielt free put just a goal in the game and for the next nine minutes there was stalemate before McAtameny hit his second three pointer. Fermanagh had chances but they were not playing with the same purpose as they had in the opening stages of the second half.
Lynn kicked a score on the turn to put Derry ahead and although Quigley equalised with another free McWilliams had the last say to secure the win for the visitors. In the end however the efforts of both sides were fruitless as they both head for division three.
Fermanagh: T. Treacy; M. Jones, C. Cullen, K. Connor; D. McCusker, R. McCluskey, A. Breen; E. Donnelly, L. Cullen; P. McCusker, R. Jones, B. Mulrone; E. Courtney, S. Quigley, D. Keenan. Subs: J McMahon for P McCusker 45, R Lyons for Keenan 56, C Murphy for Breen 60, T McCaffrey for Courtney 62, P Reihill for D McCusker 67. A Breen for Reihill 70.
Scorers:S Quigley 0-08 (7f 1 45’), D McCusker 0-02, P McCusker, B Mulrone and E Donnelly 0-01 each.
Yellow Card: R Jones 38, M Jones 71
Black Card: P Reihill 70, R Lyons 70
Derry: T. Mallon; K. McKaigue, B. Rodgers, C. Nevin; N. Forester, C. McKaigue, D. Heavron; C. McAtamney, P. Cassidy; E. Lynn, E. McGuckin, C. McWilliams; D. Tallon, N. McLoughlin, B. Herron. Subs: J Keilt for Tallon HT, R Bell for Herron , M Lynch for McGuckin , G O’Neill for Haveron 61,
Scorers: C McAtamney 2-00, J Keilt 0-03 (0-02f), E Lynn 0-02, C McWilliams and B Herron 0-01, N Loughlin 0-01f.
Yellow Cards: B Herron 14
Red Card: J Keilt 70