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Lacklustre Fermanagh earn dramatic victory thanks to Quigley's late, late show

Fermanagh 1-10 Queen's University 1-09

By Colm Bradley

A Seamus Quigley penalty with five minutes left of normal time was the crucial score of the game as Fermanagh secured two wins from two, defeating a Queen's side who battled to the very end.

The penalty was hotly contested however with Aidan O'Rourke giving a blunt assessment of referee Steven Campbell's decision after the Brewster Park clash.

"We are very disappointed and played very well at times and worked very hard as a team. I feel very aggrieved by the penalty," he said.

"We had two defenders assaulted in there. It was given for a lift ball but no word of the fact that the player was forearm smashed to end up on top of the ball," the former Armagh ace insisted before suggesting that the universities find referees' calls going against them more often than not in the McKenna Cup.

"It is typical. We know over the years, and this is not a complaint, just an acknowledgement, that universities have to win by five or six points to win the match.

"Any time the Fermanagh crowd called, Fermanagh got a free kick," the Queen's boss claimed.

Quigley tucked the penalty away low to the keeper's right to give his side a three-point lead, although Queen's came back and almost took the win with the last play of the game.

Wing back Conor Murphy, a Fermanagh native, got on the end of a good move but full-back Lee Cullen saved his side's blushes with a goal-line stop.

Fermanagh were off-colour for most of the first half, racking up 11 wides in the period to three by Queen's, and fell 1-02 to no score behind.

Corner back Niall Keenan scored the visitors' goal inside two minutes when he hammered high to the net after a deft pass from Niall Scullion.

The manner of that goal and indeed the start in general was something that Fermanagh boss Rory Gallagher was clearly unhappy with after the game.

"We got off to a very bad start and let Queen's come out through the middle and we knew there would be a backlash from them after the weekend. But it was a very flat lethargic performance from ourselves particularly in the first 20 minutes," he said.

It took Fermanagh 25 minutes to score with Conal Jones hitting the target after an excellent pass from Kane Connor. Jones would go on to kick two more points from play before the break and Gallagher was pleased with how the Derrygonnelly man performed at the edge of the square.

"You have to vary it and mix your play and at times we ran the ball well but there were times that it was on to let it in long and Conal, in particular, was showing but the ball wasn't let it. We rectified that a bit and once we got it in to him we had some success," he said.

Fermanagh had the deficit down to a solitary point at half time with Ruairi Corrigan and Ryan Jones also on target.

For Queen's, the mightily impressive Emmet Bradley hit two first-half points with Tiarnan Rushe also proving a handful for the home defence.

In truth though neither side looked fluid in attack. Fermanagh's wide total of 11 was evidence of that while Queen's found many of their attacks breaking down in the final third, a point alluded to by O'Rourke.

"In terms of the competition and the game, it was a great day for us. We played some good stuff. Fermanagh obviously put their shoulder to the wheel in the second half there," he said.

"We were inefficient in attack right throughout the game, we were breaking down a lot at the half forward line and we have to look at that."

Fermanagh were the better team in the second half with Declan McCusker and Aidan Breen both coming more into the game and Eamon McHugh and Cullen solid in defence.

Another win will see Fermanagh qualify for the semi-finals.

Gallagher added: "The McKenna Cup is down your list of priorities and it is more about getting the right level of work into the boys before the start of the league but at the same time you would expect a more fluid performance."

Fermanagh: T Treacy, E McHugh, L Cullen, C McManus, P McCusker, D McCusker (0-01), K Connor, R Jones (0-01), E McManus, R Lyons, R Corrigan (0-01), A Breen (0-01), D Teague, C Jones (0-06, 0-03f), C McGee. Subs: E Donnelly for E McManus (20), Seamus Quigley (1-00pen) for Teague (25), B Mulrone for C McGee (40), L McStravick for Lyons (51), E Courtney for R Corrigan (56), Sean Quigley for Breen (66)

Black Card: E Donnelly (72)

Queen's: C Mullan, Young, N Keenan (1-00), P Murdock, A Rushe, N Scullion, J McMahon, C Murphy, S Heffron, E Bradley (0-03, 0-01f), C O'Neill, P O'Hagan, D McKeever, T Rushe (0-03, 0-01f), E Fyfe, C Harney. Subs C Martin for Fyfe (HT), R Burns (0-02f) for Harney (46), K McDonald for Murdock (53), A Fegan for O'Hagan (59), E Mallon for Martin (66), E McGarvey for O'Neill (69)

Referee: S Campbell (Tyrone).

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