Friday 20 April 2018

Wasteful Galway caught at the death

Galway 0-15 Fermanagh 0-15

Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick / Sportsfile
Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick / Sportsfile

John Fallon

Fermanagh's quest for a first victory over Galway in senior football continues but they rightly celebrated at the finish in Tuam Stadium after snatching an invaluable draw deep into stoppage time.

Substitute Declan McCusker was the hero for Pete McGrath's side, showing good composure in the third minute of stoppage time to steer over a deserved equaliser.

It was Galway's third draw in a row and one they will feel they let slip, shooting 13 wides to Fermanagh's four and playing almost half the game with an extra man.

The net result is that they will travel to play Cavan next Sunday with the winners gaining promotion and a crack at Tyrone in the Division 2 final.

Galway manager Kevin Walsh, bidding to get the Tribesmen back into the top flight after five years, said their fate was in their own hands.

"It's not a bad position to be. It's a winner takes all in Breffni next Sunday. Even before today, relegation was gone out the window. Over the years that has been an issue for Galway heading into the last game.

"It's a nice place to be albeit the performance really has to be upped. I suppose we'd have taken it at the start of the year but we know we need to improve, there needs to be more consistency."

Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath hailed his side for never giving up, even when they slipped a goal behind after corner-back Niall Cassidy was sent off for a challenge on Johnny Heaney after 41 minutes.

"In this league, to get anything away from home is always a good result. To dig out a point against a very good Galway team, I think we have to be pleased."

Galway led by 0-7 to 0-6 at the break, having played against the diagonal wind, with Shane Walsh picking off a couple of excellent scores.

The points from Damien Comer and Gary Sice shortly after the restart pushed Galway in front but they were unable to close out the deal despite their numerical advantage.

Tomas Corrigan, Sean Quigley and Ryan Jones did most to get Fermanagh back into contention, drawing level in the final quarter.

Galway pulled away with efforts from subs Danny Cummins and Patrick Sweeney but Fermanagh battled to the end. Corrigan pointed a free to cut the gap to the minimum and then sub McCusker had the composure to level in the third minute of injury time to secure a deserved draw, with McGrath thrilled with the composure shown by the Ederney St Joseph's man.

"He did well, under severe pressure, not an easy kick, into the breeze, right-footed on the right wing, he struck it beautifully. He deserves great credit. We got no more than we deserved today," added McGrath.

Scorers - Galway: D Comer 0-4 (1f); G Sice 0-3 (2f); S Walsh & P Sweeney 0-2 each; E Hoare (f), A Varley, E Brannigan & D Cummins 0-1 each. Fermanagh: T Corrigan 0-7 (5f); S Quigley 0-3 (2f); R Lyons 0-2 & R Jones 0-2 each; D McCusker 0-1.

Galway - M Breathnach 6; C Sweeney 7, D Kyne 6, D Wynne 6; L Silke 7, G O'Donnell 7, J Heaney 6; F Ó Curraoin 7, P Conroy 7; G Sice 7, S Walsh 7, T Flynn 6; D Comer 8, A Varley 6, E Hoare 6. Subs: D Cummins 6 for Walsh (h-t), P Sweeney 7 for Varley (46), E Brannigan 7 for Hoare (55), G Bradshaw 6 for Heaney (59), S Denvir 6 for Ó Curraoin (59).

Fermanagh - C Snow 7; N Cassidy 5, C Cullen 7, M Jones 6; A Breen 5, R McCluskey 7, J McMahon 6; E Donnelly 6, D Kelly 7; B Mulrone 7, R Lyons 7, R Jones 7; T Corrigan 8, S Quigley 7, R Corrigan 6. Subs: M O'Brien 7 for Breen (BC, 34), C Flaherty 6 for M Jones (h-t), D McCusker 7 for McMahon (49), P McClusker 6 for R Corrigan (49), C Jones 6 for Lyons (65), K Connor 6 for Donnelly (70, BC).

Ref - J Henry (Mayo)

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