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Friday 9 December 2016

McGrath enjoys winning return to hand Burns a reality check

Fermanagh 0-14 Down 0-8

Published 11/01/2016 | 02:30

Fermanagh's Barry O'Hagan in action against Down's Joe Murphy during their McKenna Cup, Group B, Round 2, clash at Páirc Esler. Photo: Mark Marlow / Sportsfile
Fermanagh's Barry O'Hagan in action against Down's Joe Murphy during their McKenna Cup, Group B, Round 2, clash at Páirc Esler. Photo: Mark Marlow / Sportsfile
Fermanagh's Ryan Hanna is persued by Down's Peter Turley at Páirc Esler. Photo: Mark Marlow / Sportsfile
Down's Caolan Mooney in action against Fermanagh's Aiden Breen during their McKenna Cup, Group B, Round 2, clash at Páirc Esler. Photo: Mark Marlow / Sportsfile

Pete McGrath enjoyed a winning return to Down, but this was a sobering reminder to new Mourne manager Eamonn Burns that this could be a long hard season.

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McGrath's Fermanagh side played with a cohesion and purpose that an experimental Down team could not match at Pairc Esler, resulting in a loss in Burns' first home game in charge.

"I had myself convinced to go and enjoy the occasion, which I did, and was very pleased with how the team played," said McGrath.

"Any time Down nicked a point we were able to go back up the field and reciprocate, but we'll keep it in perspective. Down are in a serious transitional phase."

Having been appointed late, Burns has had little time to work with the squad and it showed.

Fermanagh led by 0-8 to 0-4 at half-time, Tomas Corrigan scoring three from play, and barring a five-minute spell in the first half when Down hit three in a row, the visitors utterly bossed the game.

Down went 20 minutes without scoring in both halves while Sean Quigley hit all of Fermanagh's six second-half points.

They hit the first four points and led 0-8 to 0-4 at the break.

Caolan Mooney and Barry O'Hagan hit early second-half points for Down but the visitors eased to a comfortable win.

Scorers - Fermanagh: S Quigley 0-7 (4fs, 1 '45'), T Corrigan 0-3, D Teague, D McCusker, B Mulrone, R Hanna 0-1 each. Down: A McConville (1f), D O'Hanlon (2fs) 0-2 each, B O'Hagan, C Maginn, S Dornan, C Mooney 0-1 each;

Fermanagh - C Snow; E McManus, M Jones, A Breen; D McCusker, J McMahon, R Hanna; C Jones, D Kelly; P McCusker, C Flaherty, B Mulrone; D Teague, S Quigley, T Corrigan. Subs: P Cadden for Teague (45), K Connor for Flaherty (60), E McHugh for P McCusker (65), F Gillen for Corrigan (68), R Hyde for Mulrone (70), S McManus for McMahon (BC, 70).

Down - S Kane; M Magee, C McGovern, D Turley; D O'Hanlon, R Boyle, J Murphy; C Doyle, M McKay; B O'Hagan, C Maginn, J McDermott; G Johnston, S Dornan, C Mooney. Subs: M Hughes for McDermott (43), R Mallon for O'Hanlon (45), C Harrison for O'Hagan (49), A McConville for Maginn (55), P Turley for Doyle (55), P Downey for Murphy (BC, 69).

REF - S Hurson (Tyrone).

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