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Back in the day: Sep 6 1998: Enniskillen and Devenish can't be separated in Fermanagh final

BREAKING BALL...Enniskillen Gael’s and Devenish’s Francis Maguire race for possession in yesterday’s Fermanagh football final Picture:Ann McManus
The Irish News Archive

Fermanagh SFC final: Enniskillen 0-9 Devenish 0-9

A DRAW was a fair result between two committed teams who had to contend with wind and heavy rain on a perfect pitch at Irvinestown.

Devenish's greater experience allowed them to recover from having surrendered a 0-8 to 0-5 lead midway through the second half for 17-year-old substitute Kevin Coyle to snatch the equalising point on the stroke of normal time.

Enniskillen midfielder Tom Brewster was the dominant scorer on the day, helping himself to seven points, of which five were from frees.

Significantly when he and his brother Paul were in command at midfield the Devenish defence was stretched and it took a wholehearted effort from Bart O'Brien to break up their rhythm.

Colm Bradley for Enniskillen and Mark Gallagher and Declan Coyle for Devenish had the beating of their direct markers and caused problems when they got possession.

Coyle opened the scoring with Brewster from a free quickly responding and there followed another exchange of points between Miles McGuinness for Devenish and Rory Judge before Mark Gallagher with two pointed frees gave Devenish a 0-4 to 0- 2 lead after 15 minutes.

Bradley was causing problems on either flank and one of the several fouls on him was punished by Brewster.

However, Devenish were in control and an Anthony McGoldrick point preceded three wides from scoreable positions by his colleagues.

It took Francis Maguire, moving up from the half-back line, to end the rot with a delightful point after neat approach play by Coyle and Gallagher. That left Devenish three points in front before Brewster, from another free won by Bradley, brought the opening half scoring to a close (0-6 to 0-4). On the resumption of play Brewster pointed from play but Devenish quickly settled down and continuing good work by Paddy McGuinness and Bart O'Brien was the platform for two Gallagher points that gave them an 0-8 to 0-5 lead after 13 minutes of the half.

A great four-man move involving Aaron Burns, Bradley and full forward Pearse Fitzpatrick created an opportunity for McCabe to score a goal from close range but the Devenish goalkeeper did well to block his effort. The Gaels, however, were not to be denied. Brewster pointed another free and as both teams rang the changes on the subs bench Burns and Brewster had a point apiece to bring the teams level (0-8) in the 54th minute.

While Brewster recorded his seventh point to give Enniskillen the lead there were only four minutes remaining and Devenish were being pinned in their own half of the field.

With normal time up substitute Kevin Coyle pounced on a misplaced pass from a defender to send over the equalising point.

Enniskillen: B Dooris, C Murphy, R Curran, S Fox, S Connolly, M Farry, R McCluskey, T Brewster (0-7), P Brewster, A Burns (0-1), G McDermott, R Judge (0-1), R McCabe, P Fitzpatrick, C Bradley.

Subs: C McEnhill for Fox, S Bradley for Fitzpatrick.

Devenish: P Maguire, C Burns, P McGuinness, G O'Brien, F Maguire (0-1), K Gallagher, S McCann, M McGuinness (0-1), B O'Brien, D Coyle (0-1), J M O'Brien, A McGoldrick (0-1), M Gallagher (0-4), M O'Brien, A Coyle.

Subs: B Carty for Francis Maguire (inj), S Burns for G O'Brien, K Coyle (0-1) for J M O'Brien. Referee: Martin McBrien (Derrylin)

Euro 2000 Qualifying Group Eight: Republic of Ireland 2 Croatia 0

Brilliant Irish off to a flier

MICK McCarthy refused to get caught up in the tidal wave of optimism and expectation which greeted Saturday's unexpectedly brilliant 2-0 win over Croatia.

Invaluable as the three points which put the Republic in charge of their European destiny undoubtedly were, the manager was much more reserved than the thousands who walked sprightly out of Lansdowne Road believing the glory days are back. McCarthy offered only the minimalist of responses.

“I'm very pleased, we deserved to win and this has been a good start.”

Mindful, no doubt, of what happened when Ireland's excellent start to qualification for France ‘98 came to a shuddering halt halfway through the campaign, McCarthy was keen to stress talk of success this time is premature.

Having gone 2-0 up in the opening 15 minutes thanks to the Cork and Man United double act of Denis Irwin and Roy Keane, Ireland shut up shop and continued to protect their lead even when Croatia had two men sent off inside as many minutes in the second-half.

It was a tactic which disappointed the 34,000 sell-out crowd but which was defended by both McCarthy and his players.

DONEGAL Celtic's senior and youth outfits enjoyed cup and league glory at the weekend. Paddy Kelly's Intermediate side defeated former Steel and Sons Cup holders Chimney Corner 2-1 in the competition. Kevin Lenaghen gave Celtic a 37th minute lead in the first half of that game.

Corner pulled one back from a penalty on the stroke of half-time but it was from the spot at the other after the break, from which Sean Armstrong, a nephew of Northern Ireland legend Gerry, converted.

The Suffolk Club's U14 side lifted the Champions of Champions Cup tournament at Mallusk, beating St Andrew's 2-0 in the final while in the U10 Down and Connor league, Celtic defeated Immaculata 3-0.

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