Cassidy on song to seal title for Harps
Derrygonnelly Harps were forced to dig deep to make it back-to-back championships with a gritty, one-point victory over Erne Gaels at Brewster Park, Enniskillen.
Derrygonnelly 0-11 Erne Gaels 1-7
A Ryan Lyons goal for the Belleek men on 51 minutes gave them a two-point lead but, crucially, they failed to score again as Derrygonnelly went through the gears and hit three points in a row - two coming from Leigh Jones and the winner from Declan Cassidy with two minutes left on the clock.
Derrygonnelly led by two points at the break, but Gaels quickly upped their game after half-time and were to score three of the first five points of the second half, with Seamus Ryder having a rasping shot brilliantly saved by Dermot Feely in the Derrygonnelly goal.
The Harps got their scores easier in the first half, with their quick breaks following turnovers the main difference between the two sides.
Three of their six first-half points came from dispossessing their opponents and breaking quickly, with Ryan Jones shooting the first score of the game from one such instance.
The industrious and evergreen Paul Ward (left) followed this up before Seamus Ryder twisted and turned to find space to knock the ball over the ball and open Gaels' account.
Ronan Cox tied things up for the Belleek men with a fisted point after a good move up the right flank, but this was as good as it got for Erne Gaels as Ward put Derrygonnelly back in front with another fine effort from play.
Garvan Jones stretched the Harps lead with a free before they claimed two of the final three points of the half with Ward splitting the posts along with a fine effort from Neil Gallagher, with Ryder replying with a free at the other end.
Scorers - Derrygonnelly: P Ward 0-04, D Cassidy 0-02, L Jones 0-02 (1f), R Jones 0-01, G Jones 0-01f, N Gallagher 0-01. Erne Gaels: S Ryder 0-05 (0-03f), R Lyons 1-00, T McCaffrey 0-01f, B McCann 0-01.
Derrygonnelly: D Feely, D Greene, S Burns, Shane McGullion, N Gallagher, M Jones, G McGinley, R Jones, G Jones, L Jones, C Jones, D Cassidy, P Ward, Stephen McGullion, J McGurn. Subs: K Cassidy for McGurn (44), M Cassidy for Stephen McGullion (50), L Jones for Gallagher (54) G McKenna for D Cassidy (60).
Erne Gaels: Stephen Ryder, P O'Shea, D McGullion, G O'Connor, P McCaffrey, D Keown, J McCann, B Mullin, R Lyons, B McCann, T McCaffrey, R Cox, D Lyons, Seamus Ryder, M Lyons. Subs; M Og McGarrigle for B McCann (37) C Keown for P O'Shea (42), L Ryder for Cox (44), C Smith for McCaffrey (60). Yellow Cards: M Lyons (26), B Mullin (52).
Ref: N Davis (Teemore)