Fermanagh and Derry played out a draw at Brewster Park yesterday with the contest only coming to life late on as an experimental Oak Leaf outfit fought back from five points down to earn a share of the spoils.
Indeed it took a point from substitute Ciaran McElroy to give Fermanagh a draw from a game they had led throughout.
With seven minutes left Fermanagh held a five point advantage, 0-09 to 0-04 but Derry responded with 1-03 in a four minute spell to go a point up, the goal coming from Joe Diver, before McElroy registered the last score of the game.
In a low key opening half it was Fermanagh who started the brighter of the sides with Ryan Carson and James Sherry edging the midfield battle with Derry’s Joe Diver and Niall Bradley.
Newcomer Enda Ferris got the first score of the game when he fired over and full forward Seamus Ryder, who had a fine first half, clipped over a second for the Ernemen.
Ferris then notched a third for the home side as they took control of the game although it lacked any cutting edge with the new rules meaning both sets of players remained cautious.
Derry struggled to make any impact in attack with four wides and two efforts dropping into goalkeeper Ronan Gallagher’s arms inside the opening 17 minutes before Niall Bradley was shown the first of three yellow cards in the game for pulling down Carson.
Ryder and Carson then knocked over further scores for Fermanagh to make it 0-05 to 0-00 before Derry finally opened their account in the final minute of the half with substitute Brian Mullan lofting over to leave four between them at half time.
The second half was to continue in the same manner with Fermanagh remaining in control although Joe Diver and Seamus Bradley both missed good goal opportunities for Damian Cassidy’s side.
Pat Cadden put five between them and the sides with the first score after the interval, then the sides traded the next six points with Cadden notching another two points.
Then Ferris tagged one on for Fermanagh while Mullan, Paul Bradley and Eoghan Brown had points for Derry.
With time running out there only looked to be one winner but Derry knocked over three points in quick succession from Paul Bradley and Seamus Bradley (2).
And Derry seemed to have snatched the win when Diver took advantage of an error by Ciaran McElroy to fire to the net but McElroy redeemed himself with a point to leave it level at the final whistle.
Fermanagh: R. Gallagher; S. Goan, R. Foy, M. Jones; D. Kelly, P. Sherry, P. Johnston; R. Carson (0-01), J. Sherry; P. Cadden (0-03), D. Kille, R. Keenan; P. Ward, S. Ryder (0-02), E. Ferris (0-03). Subs: E. Maguire for Ward, J. Connolly for Cadden, S. O’Brien for Kille, C. McElroy (0-01) for Keenan.
Derry: S. McGuckin; D. McBride, Patsy Bradley, T. Walls; P. Carton, C. McKaigue, A. McAlynn; N. Bradley, J. Diver (1-00); E. Lynn, G. McShane, Paul Bradley (0-02); S. Bradley (0-02), K. O’Connor, C. Mullan. Subs: B. Og McAlary for Walls, B. Mullan (0-02) for O’Connor, E. Brown (0-01) for C. Mullan, P. Young for McShane.