Steven McDonnell fired over six points as Armagh edged out Fermanagh in a tight game at Brewster Park on Saturday night to secure a second win of the campaign for Peter McDonnell’s team.
This was closely contested throughout with no more than two points separating the sides at any stage of the game, but in the end it was a more clinical Armagh that shaded matters to pick up the points against a battling Fermanagh outfit.
Fermanagh had looked the better side in the first quarter, but the loss of captain Marty McGrath to a yellow card was a big blow for Malachy O’Rourke’s side, who had been dominating at midfield.
The also wasted some good scoring chances when leading 0-04 to 0-02 as Armagh responded to take a one point advantage in at the break.
It was tit for tat throughout the second-half and Armagh looked as if they were going to rue an Aidan O’Rourke missed penalty as Fermanagh clipped over two points to level the tie, but points from substitutes Stefan Forker and Peadar Toal were enough to see Armagh over the line.
McDonnell, who played a more withdrawn role, opened the scoring with a point from a free, but with Fermanagh showing greater hunger around the middle third the home side hit back to take a 0-04 to 0-02 lead with Rory Foy, Eamon Maguire and the impressive Shane O’Brien, who fired over five points for the Ernemen, among the points.
However, they failed to push on when they were on top and with McDonnell showing great accuracy, Armagh finished the half with three unanswered points to make it 0-05 to 0-04 at the break.
Fermanagh were back on level terms from the restart as Tommy McElroy linked up with Shane McDermott and James Sherry to fire over, but Armagh looked threatening when they moved the ball into their attack and with
Ronan Clarke, McDonnell and Ryan Henderson lofting over scores it saw the Orchard men claim a 0-09 to 0-07 lead.
Aidan O’Rourke then had the chance to put the game beyond Fermanagh.
Hugh Brady was shown a yellow card after taking down Brian Mallon, but from the resulting penalty O’Rourke blazed wide.
Lifted by this Fermanagh replied with points from O’Brien and Ryan Keenan to leave it all square with ten minutes to go.
However, Fermanagh gifted Armagh possession as they attempted to move the ball out of defence and Forker drilled over before Toal added to this within a minute.
Fermanagh pressed hard over the final five minutes, but all they could muster was an Eamon Maguire point from the last kick of the game as Armagh hung on for the win, despite losing both Martin O’Rourke and McDonnell to yellow cards right at the end.
Fermanagh: R. Gallagher; S. Goan, S. Lyons, H. Brady; P. Sherry, S. McDermott, R. Foy (0-1); M. McGrath, J. Sherry; M. Little, T. McElroy (0-1), S. O’Brien (0-5,4f); E. Maguire (0-2), R. Carson, E. Ferris. Subs: P. Johnston for Foy, D. McQuaid for McGrath (yellow), D. Keenan for Little, M. Jones for Brady (yellow), R. Keenan (0-1) for McQuaid, C. McElroy for Lyons (yellow).
Armagh: P. McEvoy; A. Mallon, T. McClelland, F. Moriarty; C. McKeever, A. O’Rourke, B. Shannon; J. Lavery, C. Vernon (0-1); M. O’Rourke, B. Mallon, R. Henderson (0-1); K. O’Rourke, R. Clarke (0-1), S. McDonnell (0-6,5f). Subs: C. Toner for Lavery, P. Toal (0-1) for K. O’Rourke, S. Forker (0-1) for Henderson, G. O’Neill for Clarke.