Fermanagh bring it to another level in second half of Newry win
Down are wasteful with goal chances in first period and fall well short in the second half
Down’s Aidan Carr attempts a block on Fermanagh’s Che Cullen. Photograph: Inpho
Fermanagh cruised to a nine-point victory over a lacklustre Down in Newry as Peter McGrath’s team looked better in all departments against the hosts at Pairc Esler.
Down opened the scoring after just 43 seconds when Alan Davidson knocked over a close range free, but it was the visitors who dominated the opening quarter of an hour with three Tomas Corrigan frees and an Eddie Courtney points from play putting them in a 0-4 to 0-1 lead with 12 minutes on the clock. Fermanagh reaping the rewards of their high pressing game early on.
However, once Down worked out the Ernemen’s kickout strategy, they began to get a foothold in the game and points from Conaill McGovern and Shay Millar brought them back to within a score.
They were denied a goal on 24 minutes when Joe Murphy plucked Aidan Carr’s free out of the sky but his low shot was well blocked out by Declan McCusker for a ‘45, that Davidson converted to level.
Fermanagh ‘keeper Thomas Treacy then made an excellent stop to deny Pat Havern a goal four minutes later and then Davidson hit the post when well placed as Down got on top. Davidson put them in front with another free but it was Pete McGrath’s men who went in at the break in front 0-6 to 0-5 courtesy of Corrigan and Sean Quigley’s 35-metre free.
Five scores in the first nine minutes of the second period from Corrigan (two frees), Aidan Breen (two) and Paul McCusker put Fermanagh 0-11 to 0-5 ahead before Down staged a mini-revival as Davidson, second half substitute Kevin McKernan and Joe Murphy pulled it back to a three-point game.
However, the men in green regained the upper hand to go seven clear with a big Corrigan free before Eoin McManus rifled to the net to make it 1-12 to 0-8 in favour of the visitors.
Barry Mulrone, Corrigan’s first from play and a point from Cathal Beacom stretched Fermanagh’s lead to nine as the tie petered out to a finish.
Davidson and Aidan Carr scored either side of Fermanagh’s Ryan Lyons in what was a comfortable finish to the game for the visitors.
Down: M Cunningham; R McAleenan, G McGovern, D O’Hagan; D McKeever, C McGovern (0-1), B McArdle; A Carr (0-1), J Flynn; J Murphy (0-1), C Magee, S Millar (0-1); A Davidson (0-5, 2f, 1’45), P Havern, B O’Hagan
Subs: C Mooney for McArdle (H-T), K McKernan (0-1) for McKeever (43mins), R Johnston for Millar (45mins), C Maginn for Murphy (62mins), P Turley for Flynn (62mins), D O’Hanlon for McKernan (64mins)
Fermanagh: T Treacy; M Jones, C Cullen, C McManus; D McCusker, R McCluskey, A Breen (0-2); E Donnelly, L Cullen; B Mulrone (0-1), E McManus (1-0), P McCusker (0-1); E Courtney (0-1), S Quigley (0-1), T Corrigan (0-8, 7f)
Subs: C Beacom (0-1) for Courtney (57mins), J McMahon for McCluskey (64mins), D Keenan for McManus (64mins), P Rehill for P McCusker (70mins), R Lyons (0-1) for Quigley (70mins), T McCaffrey for Corrigan (70mins)
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford)