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Fermanagh power past 14-man Armagh and into semi-finals

Fermanagh 0-12 Armagh 0-07

By Colm Bradley

Fermanagh were deserving winners over Armagh at Brewster Park on Saturday with their five-point win booking a place in the semi final of the Ulster Championship.

Rory Gallagher's men were far the better side though the sending off of Niall Grimley on 37 minutes did not help Armagh's cause. Just two points separated the sides at that stage with Fermanagh kicking the next four scores to open up a six-point advantage and effectively put the game beyond doubt.

After the game, the Fermanagh boss was a happy man: "I am delighted for these players. There is one line that was sticking out at the start of the year - they hadn't beaten a team that was ranked above them as such. They feel they have not been successful enough in Championship and that is one thing we said at the start of the year, we need to beat Armagh in the Ulster Championship and whatever happens after that, we move on," said Gallagher.

For Kieran McGeeney there was a sense of frustration at how poorly his side performed;

"We were just poor. There's not much point in saying anything else. I thought we were ready for it, well prepared but it was just a different team that showed up, We would have expected Fermanagh to score 10 or 12 points against us but we would've expected to score more. We just couldn't seem to get our scoring boots going at all.

Seamus Quigley top scored for the winners with six points, five coming from free kicks.

Fermanagh though started the better of the two teams and were 0-04 to 0-01 up after 12 minutes. Seamus Quigley with an early free was followed up with points from play from Declan McCusker, who was the best player on the pitch, Barry Mulrone and Ryan Jones.

Mark Shields broke through for a point from play for the visitors but Armagh were looking laboured in attack.

Ethan Rafferty did hit two points in quick succession, with the second coming after a lung- busting run from Ryan McShane, and the former, a well struck free kick. In general though the Fermanagh defence, with Che Cullen and James McMahon masterful in the central positions, were on top.

The home side finished the first half stronger and two points to the good.

Just two minutes into the second half came a decisive moment in the game with Niall Grimley sent to the line. In possession he raised an elbow and struck Sean Quigley in the face and referee Paddy Neilan went for the red card.

Seamus Quigley converted the free kick with Sean Quigley and Lee Cullen following up with points from play and when Seamus Quigley converted another free kick a six point advantage had been seized by the home side.

At the other end Armagh were woefully wasteful in attack with a combination of bad decision making and poor kicking contributing to their paltry seven point total at the final whistle.

Fermanagh move on and Armagh must regroup.

Fermanagh: P Cadden, K Connor, C Cullen, M Jones, B Mulrone, J McMahon, L Cullen, E Donnelly, R Jones, P McCusker, D McCusker, A Breen, Sean Quigley, C Jones, Seamus Quigley. Subs: C Corrigan for Sean Quigley (58), D Teague for P McCusker (64), E Maguire for Breen (66), E McManus for Connor (70), T Clarke for C Jones (73)

Yellow: E Donnelly 28, B Mulrone 39, Seamus Quigley 40, R Jones 44, K Connor 64

Scorers: Seamus Quigley 0-06 (0-05f), R Jones 0-02, B Mulrone 0-01, L Cullen 0-01, D McCusker 0-01, Sean Quigley 0-01

Armagh: B Hughes; P Burns, C Mackin, A McKay, C Vernon, G McCabe, A Forker, B Donaghy, N Grimley, R McShane , M Shields, B Crealey, G McParland, A Murnin, E Rafferty. Subs: J McElroy for Mackin (45), N Rowland for B Crealey (32), R Grugan for McParland (47), J Hall for McShane (51)E McGeown for Rafferty (63).

Yellow: B Crealey 16, G McCabe 40, A Murnin (70)

Red: N Grimley 37

Scorers: R Grugan 0-03f, E Rafferty 0-02 (1f), G McFarland 0-01f, M Shields,

Referee: P Neilan (Roscommon).

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