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Fermangh all but Erne promotion

Fermanagh 2-06 Wexford 0-12

Fermanagh will be keeping more illustrious company next year after yesterday's draw with Wexford, combined with Down's surprise one point defeat to Leitrim, assured them of Division Two football in 2009.

A tough and competitive Division Three has now been negotiated by Malachy O'Rourke and his side, who had led by eight points at one stage in the first half against Wexford.

Despite a disappointing second half from Fermanagh in Lisnaskea it is still the first goal of the year achieved by O'Rourke and his team, with the manager having stated when he took over in October that he would be targeting promotion to Division Two.

And his side have shown that they have the ability to step up to a higher level having won five and drawn one of their six league games so far in the campaign.

Fermanagh, with the advantage of the strong breeze dominated the early exchanges yesterday with midfielder Mark Murphy and Eamon Maguire both finding the back of the Wexford net inside the opening 15 minutes.

With captain Martin McGrath, who had an effective game at full forward on his return from suspension, and Mattie Keenan adding points the Ernemen raced into a 2-03 to 0-01 lead.

Wexford, though, did manage to rattle over a couple of points before the interval to give them hope for the second half.

And they were also to have the advantage of an extra man after Fermanagh defender Shane Goan was shown a red card by referee Martin Sludden as the players made their way to the dressing rooms for an incident that occurred just prior to the break.

Wexford were like a different side on the restart, and with Matty Forde in fine form they quickly began to eat into the Fermanagh lead.

By the midway stage of the half Wexford had closed the gap back to two, and when they levelled with only 12 minutes to go their only looked to be one winner.

The sides traded points but Wexford seemed to have snatched the victory when they took the lead for the first time with two minutes left to play but Fermanagh responded instantly and Ryan McCluskey and Eamon Maguire combined to set up Damian Kelly, with the half back driving his shot over the bar via the upright to seal a draw, and ultimately promotion for O'Rourke's charges.

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