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Dr McKenna Cup: Fermanagh hit for six by Tyrone

Fermanagh 0-11 Tyrone 2-11: Tyrone claimed a six points victory over Fermanagh at Brewster Park last night, and although the final margin was possibly harsh on John O’Neill’s side, the Red Hands did deserve their win.

Goals in the end were to prove decisive for Mickey Harte’s classy side with one arriving in each half.

Martin Penrose, who was a thorn in the side for Fermanagh throughout the contest, tucked away a first half penalty as the sides went in level at the break, and Ciaran Girvan slotted home the second five minutes into the second half.

That Girvan goal put Tyrone into a three point lead but Fermanagh hit back with three points of their own to level things and the game remained tight until the final ten minutes.

Tyrone, though, showed good composure in the latter stages and they rattled off five unanswered points during this period to make sure of the win.

Tyrone had a sight of goal as early as the fifth minute when Mark Donnelly burst through but his shot was pushed onto the post by Fermanagh goalkeeper James McGrath before the ball was cleared away from the danger area.

Fermanagh though soon settled into the contest and a Tomas Corrigan free was followed by a Paul Ward point from play to give them an early two point advantage.

Ward was a lively presence in the Fermanagh attack throughout the first half while at the other end Barry Owens was a rock at full back.

Sean Cavanagh registered Tyrone’s first score, foraging forward from midfield before lofting over but Fermanagh were to move into a four point lead following points from Ward, Hugh Brady and Ward again to make it 0-05 to 0-01 with 23 minutes played.

Indeed, that lead could have been even greater but Tomas Corrigan blazed wide when he drew on a loose ball after good work from Ward.

However, a more purposeful Tyrone started to get a grip around the middle with Fermanagh struggling to break through that sector and in a six minute spell Harte’s side turned a four point deficit into a one point advantage.

Martin Penrose clipped over a free and then confidently sent McGrath the wrong way from the penalty spot after a strong run from Brian McGuigan, who was stretching the Fermanagh defence at every opportunity.

When Penrose tagged on a further free it edged Tyrone in front for the first time in the showdown but Fermanagh had the last say of the half with Terry O’Flanagan banging over a free from the left hand side to leave it level at the break, 0-06 to 1-03. It was anybody’s game.

Girvan notched his goal five minutes into the second half when he dispossessed Barry Mulrone before coolly finishing along the ground.

Fermanagh’s response though was impressive with three points on the bounce to tie the game and test Tyrone’s spirit.

The sides then traded scores as the game remained level at 0-10 to 2-4.

However, with Sean Cavanagh a prominent figure when switched to the half forward line from midfield, and Penrose and McGuigan continuing to cause problems, Tyrone went on to pull away.

Penrose (2), Cavanagh (2) and Davy Harte all landed late points for the Red Hands as their class told in the end, making it two wins out of two.

So Tyrone’s McKenna Cup campaign is gathering momentum, which will please the management ahead of Saturday week’s big National League opener against Derry at Celtic Park.

Fermanagh: J.McGrath, N. Bogue, B. Owens, M. Jones, K. Cosgrove, B. Mulrone, C. Quigley, J. Sherry, H. Brady (0-1), P. McGrath (0-1), N. Cassidy, T. McElroy (0-1), P. Ward (0-3, 1f), T. Corrigan (0-3, 3f), T. O’Flanagan (0-1, 1f). Subs: P. Sherry (0-1) for Bogue, C. Flaherty for O’Flanagan, S. Quigley for Corrigan, M. McGovern for C. Quigley.

Tyrone: P. McConnell, A. McCrory, C. McCarron, D. McCaul, D. Harte (0-1), C. Gormley, S. McNally, K. Hughes, S. Cavanagh (0-4, 2f), M. Penrose (1-4, 1-0 pen, 2f), B. McGuigan (0-1), E. McGinley; P. McNeice (0-1), M. Donnelly, C. Girvan (1-0). A. Cassidy for Donnelly, R. McMenamin for McCrory, D. Carlin for McNally.

Referee: Pat McEnaney (Monaghan).

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