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Oak Leafs grow in stature to leave Erne trailing in their wake

Derry 3-13 Fermanagh 1-10

By Gareth Cauldwell

Damian's Barton Derry got their league campaign off to a flying start as they produced a dominant second half display to run out comfortable winners over Fermanagh at Celtic Park yesterday.

If the second half was all one way traffic, it was a much different game in the first half as Fermanagh went in at the break leading by a point 1-06 to 1-05 having enjoyed the better of the exchanges.

However, the contest turned in a two minute spell as Derry hit 1-02 to take control early in the second half and they never looked back from that to finish up convincing victors.

Fermanagh had made an excellent start to the game as Sean Quigley banged over the first score with a strike from distance before Ruairi Corrigan blazed over after he had been put through by brother Tomas.

Emmett Bradley rattled over a fine point to get the home side off the mark but Fermanagh hit back with the first goal of the game as Paul McCusker raced through and laid the ball off to Ruairi Corrigan who slotted the ball to the corner to make it 1-02 to 0-01 after nine minutes.

Further chances arrived for the visitors but Ciaran Flaherty and Declan McCusker both dropped shots into Mallon's hands.

Derry hit back as Ryan Bell and James Kielt converted frees and midfielder Conor McAtamney knocked over from play to cut the deficit to one although Declan McCusker replied with a point for the Ernemen. Derry got their noses in front for the first time in the game in the 24th minute as Benny Heron blasted to the roof of the net to make it 1-04 to 1-03.

It was Fermanagh though who finished the half the stronger as they registered three of the last four points.

Quigley and James Kielt traded points from frees before Tomas Corrigan and full back Aidan Breen landed points for Fermanagh to put them a point ahead at the break, 1-06 to 1-05.

A Tomas Corrigan free extended the Erne lead to two a minute into the second half but the Derry response was emphatic.

Emmett Bradley helped give Derry a foothold at midfield and they went on to hit 1-07 on the bounce to take a stranglehold on proceedings. Kielt and Ryan Bell knocked over points to level matters and this was followed by a quick fire 1-02.

Cailean O'Boyle fisted to the net while Mark Lynch and Bell quickly added to points to push Derry five in front, 2-09 to 1-07.

And they continued to boss things after this as Kielt, Lynch and Bradley tagged on further points.

Fermanagh got their first point in 24 minutes when Quigley tapped over but this was followed by a third Derry goal as the high ball again paid dividends for Barton's men, Lynch this time punching home.

Corrigan and Hanna did notch late points for Fermanagh but these were consolations scores and Christopher Bradley added Derry's final score as they finished up 3-13 to 1-10 winners.

DERRY: T. Mallon; K. McKaigue, C. McKaigue, C. Mullan; N. Forester, G. McKinless, C. McFaul; E. Bradley (0-02), C. McAtamney (0-01); C. Kearns, J. Kielt (0-04, 4f), B. Heron (1-00); D. Heavron, C. O'Boyle (1-00), R. Bell (0-03, 2f). Subs: C. Bradley (0-01) for C. Kearns, M. Lynch (1-02, 1f) for McAtamney, M. Craig for Forester, S. Heavron for Heron, D. McKinless for E. Bradley, J. Morgan for G. McKinless

FERMANAGH: C. Snow; M. Jones, A. Breen (0-01), C. Cullen; D. McCusker (0-01), J. McMahon, D. Kelly; E. Donnelly, C. Jones; B. Mulrone, R. Corrigan(1-01), P. McCusker; C. Flaherty, S. Quigley ((0-03, 1f), T. Corrigan (0-03, 3f). Subs: R. Jones for Flaherty, E. McManus for C. Jones, R. Hanna (0-01) for R. Corrigan

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