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Sean Quigley produces a one-man show

Fermanagh 1-21 Antrim 0-11

By Declan Bogue

Published 06/07/2015

My ball: Tony Scullion of Antrim sees off the challenge of Fermanagh's Barry Mulrone
My ball: Tony Scullion of Antrim sees off the challenge of Fermanagh's Barry Mulrone

Those who were there in Brewster Park yesterday might never forget a truly astonishing display of shooting from Fermanagh's Sean Quigley, as he helped himself to 14 points to outscore Antrim single-handedly.

They came from all sources; frees from the 'wrong' side of the pitch, '45's, fisted efforts when he had to climb highest to the ball, left footed floaters finishing off a spin and, of course, a number of frees lofted into the air, descending like a feather over the crossbar.

Manager Pete McGrath knows good football when he sees it and despite the best efforts of markers Justin Crozier and Ricky Johnston, Quigley was without question the star of the show.

"He played exceptionally well but he was the recipient of a lot of good ball," said the Down man.

"His accuracy and his coolness under pressure was very good. We all know how talented he is and he will realise when you score 14 points you've got to be ready for a bit more attention (the next day)."

On this evidence, and all the rest of their accumulated woes over the course of this season, Antrim's problems run deep. They lost here in Ulster by eight points and bounced back to beat Laois away from home.

That, however, was the cue for player fall-outs, player defections and an utterly lifeless performance that had them eight points down here with still half an hour to play.

It's a story all too familiar to Antrim and, asked after the game if he will be conducting a root and branch review of the season, manager Frankie Fitzsimons gave an open-ended answer; "If we are there next year we will have to look at it.

"I am definitely hurting. I would be hurting if I was sitting in the stand too. I am an Antrim team and the team got beat all over the field."

Prior to the game a rainstorm came down on Enniskillen, prompting Fermanagh to retreat back to the dressing rooms while Antrim stayed out in the downpour.

That smart thinking was reflected in their first half play as they took complete control from the 10th minute, hitting seven unanswered points; two Quigley frees, a '45' and a wonderful effort off his left after collecting a cross-field ball from Declan McCusker to bring his first half tally to seven.

At times Antrim appeared to have the stomach for it. Sean McVeigh won his share around the middle and there was a glimpse when Niall McKeever was introduced on the half hour mark that they could turn the tide.

The former Brisbane Lions man plucked a couple of Fermanagh kickouts from the air and kicked a point that left four in it, but a converted, tricky free from Quigley, and a '45' at the second attempt following an amusing sideshow with Antrim strength and conditioning coach Mick McGurn who was sent to the stands by referee Barry Cassidy, left Fermanagh 0-11 to 0-5 up at the break.

It might have been more but for Chris Kerr's strong hand on a Paul McCusker shot after Barry Mulrone played in the Ederney man for a goal chance.

Antrim sent on CJ McGourty at half time and the St Gall's man produced a spectacular point with two men closing in on him in the 51st minute, but by then Antrim were seven points adrift. With Quigley playing in a more withdrawn role of centre-forward and swapping positions for the day with Ryan Jones, he was unstoppable.

At the back, James McMahon made light of Ryan McCluskey's absence while the workrate of Barry Mulrone, Marty O'Brien, Declan and Paul McCusker made life insufferable for Antrim.

Around the goal, Mickey Jones, Tiarnan Daly and Niall Cassidy were organised and comfortable.

Fermanagh go into the hat this morning for Round 3A of the football qualifiers. They can get, Longford, Kildare and Roscommon and will rightly fear none of the above when the ball is thrown in next weekend.

Fermanagh: T Treacy; N Cassidy 0-1, T Daly, M Jones; D Kelly, J McMahon, M O'Brien 1-0; E Donnelly, R O'Callaghan; D McCusker, S Quigley 0-14, 4f, 2 x '45', P McCusker 0-1, B Mulrone 0-1, R Jones, T Corrigan 0-1

Subs: D Kille 0-1, for Corrigan (18m), C Jones 0-1, for D McCusker (60m), A Breen for O'Brien (63m), C Cullen for O'Callaghan (66m), S McManus 0-1, for Quigley (69m)

Yellow cards: D McCusker (29m), Quigley (32m)

Black cards: 0

Red cards: 0

Antrim: C Kerr 0-1, 1x 45'; N Delargy, R Johnson, J Laverty; J Crozier 0-1, T Scullion, D Lynch; S McVeigh, B Hasson; D McAleese, C Murray, M Sweeney 0-1; M Pollock 0-3, 1f, R Murray, O Gallagher 0-1

Subs: N McKeever 0-1 for D Lynch (29m), CJ McGourty 0-3, 1f, for McAleese (h-time), J Dowling for Hasson (46m), R McGrady for McVeigh (50m), N O'Neill for Gallagher (59m), C Duffin for R Murray (61m)

Yellow cards: C Murray (7m), Delargy (10m), Scullion (34m), Dowling (68m)

Black cards: 0 Red cards: 0

Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry).

Statistics

Goals: Fermanagh 1 Antrim 0

Points: Fermanagh 21 Antrim 11

Wides: Fermanagh 9 Antrim 8

Frees awarded: Fermanagh 23 Antrim 22

45s awarded: Fermanagh 3 Antrim 2

Yellow cards: Fermanagh 2 Antrim 4

Black cards: Fermanagh 0 Antrim 0

Red cards: Fermanagh 0 Antrim 0

Belfast Telegraph

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