Saturday 16 December 2017

Fermanagh march into Ulster semi-final after gutsy Antrim performance

Fermanagh 1-13 Antrim 0-8

Referee Maurice Deegan issues a red card to Sean McVeigh, Antrim, for a first half incident, as Kieran McGourty and Conor Murray looks on.
Referee Maurice Deegan issues a red card to Sean McVeigh, Antrim, for a first half incident, as Kieran McGourty and Conor Murray looks on.
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Fermanagh recorded their first win in the Ulster championship since 2010 when seeing off 14 man Antrim in Brewster Park.

Pete McGrath’s side hadn’t tasted success in the province since beating Cavan five years ago but they brought that losing streak to an end when seeing off a gutsy challenge from the Saffrons.

The Erneman had the advantage of an extra man for the majority of the game but it was only in the final ten minutes that they put the game to bed as Antrim legs tired, with the final score flattering them somewhat.

The first half was a turgid affair. By the time Maurice Deegan brought things to a close, Fermanagh held a narrow but deserved 0-6 to 0-4 lead but we had seen more wides than scores.

The previous 35 minutes had been notable only for a complete lack of atmosphere or intensity from both players and supporters.

Fermanagh looked to have the better of things and might have registered a goal but when both Marty O’Brien and Paul McCusker burst through the cover, they lacked the necessary composure and shot wide when at least a point was on offer.

Antrim were reduced to 14 men late in the half. Sean McVeigh seemed to take a high elbow into his tackle on Ciaran Flaherty as he soloed along the touchline.

After consulting with his linesman, Deegan reached for a straight red and Antrim’s task became that much more difficult as the teams headed in for the break.

Fermanagh looked in control after the restart but the disappointingly tame nature of the contest continued. CJ McGourty kept Antrim’s challenge alive with unerring free taking but they never looked like getting the goal they would need to get their noses in front.

And as the game wore on, Fermanagh’s numerical advantage began to tell. Sean Quigley goaled from an injury time penalty to put a gloss on the final score as they ran out clear winners to set up an Ulster semi-final date with Monaghan.

SCORERS - Fermanagh: S Quigley 1-4 (1-0 pen, 4f), R Jones 0-3, B Mulrone 0-2, C Flaherty, P McCusker, T Corrigan, D Kille 0-1 each.

Antrim: CJ McGourty 0-6 (6f), K McGourty, R Murray 0-1 each.

Fermanagh: C Snow; M Jones, N Cassidy, M O’Brien; D McCusker, R McCluskey, J McMahon; R Jones, R O’Callaghan; B Mulrone, C Flaherty, P McCusker; T Corrigan, S Quigley, R Corrigan SUBS: D Kille for R Corrigan (22), A Breen for McCluskey (30).

Antrim: C Kerr; R Johnson, S McVeigh, C Burke; J Crozier, T Scullion, N Delargy; C Murray, M Sweeney; J Laverty, O Gallagher, P McBride; K McGourty, M Pollock, R Murray SUBS: CJ McGourty for Pollock (25), J Dowling for Gallagher, D Lynch for McBride (both ht), C Duffin for Johnson (54), N O’Neill for Sweeney, D McAleese for Murray (both 61). 

Referee: M Deegan (Laois).

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