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Brennan excels as UUJ earn draw

Fermanagh 1-09 UU Jordanstown 0-12

My ball: UUJ’s Michael McEvoy holds off Ryan Jones
My ball: UUJ’s Michael McEvoy holds off Ryan Jones

By Colm Bradley

Fermanagh and UUJ played out a draw at a windswept Cannon Maguire Park, Derrygonnelly with the students mounting a second half come back that saw them come from six points down to earn a share of the spoils.

In the first game with the new experimental rules, both teams were called back a number of times for infringing on the ban on four consecutive hand passes while Fermanagh were able to avail of two marks, claimed by debutant Darragh McGurn, to convert into scores.

Speaking after the game, Fermanagh boss Rory Gallagher was scathing in his criticism of both the hand pass rule and the forward mark.

"I think people can see that teams are still going to get men behind the ball and it is leading at times to farcical situations.

"The referee was struggling to deal with it, there is no doubt about that, and any referee would struggle with it.

"There was a lot of play going backwards and short passing and a lot of over-carrying as a result of the hand pass rule and a lot turnovers as a result of it too.

"I don't think it speeds up the game at all," he said of the hand pass rule, before turning his attention to the mark which he sees as an unfair disadvantage for defenders.

"When the referee blows the whistle, defenders invariably stop and that is a total distraction. Anyone who has played the game would understand that it is a complete distraction.

"I think the mark is destructive because the defenders naturally stop when you hear the whistle - it is very hard to reprogramme something that you have been doing your whole life. It is going to create goal chances when defenders stop and that is completely unfair."

The game itself saw the wind play a big part with Fermanagh three points to the good at half-time with Darragh McGurn landing five scores, all from placed balls.

Lee Brennan and Daniel Kerr were in fine form at the other end for UUJ but they were dealt a hammer blow just after the break when a long ball from Declan McCusker was contested by Conal Jones with the ball ending up in the net.

UUJ never threw in the towel, however, and spearheaded by the brilliant free taking of Brennan, who finished with 0-08 over the course of the hour, they fought back to earn their share of the spoils.

Fermanagh: T Treacy; J Cassidy, T Daly, C McManus; K McDonnell, D McCusker, L Cullen; R Lyons, U Kelm; R O'Callaghan, R Jones, T Clarke; D Teague, C Jones, D McGurn. Subs: E Donnelly for O'Callagh (24), A Breen for Lyons (43), C Corrigan for Teague (49), C McGee for Clare (54), K Connor for McDonnell (61).

Scorers: D McGurn (0-06f), C Jones (1-00), K McDonnell (0-01), R Lyons (0-01), R Jones (0-01)

UUJ: T McConville; M Magee, M McKiernan, S Fegan; D Gallagher, M McEvoy, P Durcan; T O'Brien, P Teague; N Donnelly, C O'Hagan, J Doherty; L Brennan, D Kerr, L Harney. Subs: P Laverty for Doherty (44), O Duffin for O'Hagan (51), R Beatty for Magee (51)

Scorers: L Brennan (0-08, 0-06f, 0-01 45), D Kerr (0-03), S Fegan (0-01).

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