Sport Gaelic Football

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Ward free earns share for Fermanagh

Antrim 2-9 Fermanagh 1-12

Both Antrim and Fermanagh will bemoan the chances they missed as they shared the spoils at Casement Park, with the visitors having more cause to reflect on what might have been.

The Erne men felt sore about having a goal disallowed moments into the second half and they will also reflect on a chance that went abegging in the 42nd minute when the ball came off an upright.

The visitors dominated most of the opening period, but had to be content with level scores at the interval. Kevin Niblock rattled the Erne net on 13 minutes to put the Saffrons 1-1 to 0-2 ahead, but in the closing minutes of the half, Eoin Donnelly and Tommy McElroy sent over Fermanagh points to level matters at 1-2 to 0-5.

Two minutes after the disallowed goal, Fermanagh did raise the green flag, when Daryl Keenan hit home.

However, two points from Ryan Murray (one free) narrowed the gap, before the Erne men hit four points to one in reply and looked set for victory at 1-9 to 1-5 on 51 minutes.

Then the visitors slipped up, allowing Sean McVeigh to slice through for a home goal as he rocketed the ball into the top corner of the net. Now 2-7 to 1-9 ahead with 12 minutes on the clock, Antrim launched a strong finish.

The home side were still a point up in injury-time, but Paul Ward tapped over a free-kick to give Fermanagh a deserved draw in an exciting end to a match that was marred by inconsistent refereeing, which greatly annoyed players and supporters.

With five minutes to go Antrim's Justin Crozier was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

Man of the match: S McVeigh (Antrim)

SCORERS - Antrim: S McVeigh 1-1, T McCann 0-3 (3f), K Niblock 1-0, C Murray, R Murray (1f) 0-2 each, T Scullion 0-1. Fermanagh: P Ward (1f), S Quigley (1f, 1 '45'), T McElroy 0-3 each, D Keenan 1-0, M O'Brien, E Donnelly, C Quigley 0-1 each.

ANTRIM – C Kerr 7; K O'Boyle 7, P Doherty 5, N Delargy 6; T Scullion 7, A McClean 6, J Crozier 6; M McCann 6, S McVeigh 8; C Murray 7, K Niblock 7, B Herron 6; P Cunningham 5, M Pollock 6, T McCann 7. Subs: S Finch 6 for Doherty (24), M Herron for Pollock 6, R Murray 7 for Cunningham (43), C Duffy for M McCann (62).

FERMANAGH – C Snow 7; N Bogue 7, A McGuinness 7, J Woods 7; M O'Brien 7, B Cox 7, D McCusker 6; M McGrath 6, S Lyons 7; T McElroy 7, S McCabe 6, E Donnelly 7; P Ward 7, D Keenan 7, S Quigley 8. Subs: C Quigley 6 for Cox (50), T Corrigan 6 for McGrath (59).

REF – M McNally 5 (Monaghan).

Irish Independent

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