GAA Football

Fermanagh increase survival hopes with victory over Clare at Brewster Park

Sean Quigley scored eight points as Fermanagh beat Clare in Enniskillen
From Colm Bradley at Brewster Park

Allianz Football League Division Two

Fermanagh 0-18 Clare 1-10

FERMANAGH boss Pete McGrath described yesterday’s games with Clare as a “must win” for his side and they certainly showed that they are determined to secure their Division Two status with what was a very accomplished display from start to finish.

The win lifts them off the bottom of the table and, with Meath and Derry to come in their final two fixtures, the Ernemen know they have control of their own destiny.

On 45 minutes, however, the game was still very much in the balance. Fermanagh had etched out a

four-point advantage with the first three scores of the second half from the impressive Eddie Courtney, the industrious Aidan Breen and the unerringly accurate Sean Quigley.

Clare, however, hit 1-1 in the space of a minute to draw the sides level. Fermanagh wrestled the momentum back and produced an excellent last 25 minutes, beating Clare all over the pitch as they cruised to a five-point win.

Fermanagh boss Pete McGrath was obviously delighted to have secured the two points on offer.

“I thought we played well and I was especially pleased with the way the team performed in the second half having let a four-point lead slip. In the end, I thought we were good value for our win,” he said.

McGrath then turned his attention to the final two fixtures and believes that his side has what it takes to avoid the drop to Division Three.

“I was always confident that we would get enough points to stay up.

“We still have a lot of work to do obviously and we still have to win those last two matches to ensure our status in Division Two, but the team is good enough, determined enough and mature enough and I think resilient enough to produce two more big performances.”

The first half saw the sides share 13 points with the Ernemen entering the break one point in front.

They lost Tomas Corrigan, who notched their first score, to injury after just seven minutes but his absence didn’t derail the team as Eddie Courtney got on a lot of ball in the full-forward line.

Elsewhere, Barry Mulrone and Michael Jones were keeping the Clare forward line in check and the Bannermen only had David Tubridy and Eoin Cleary contributing to the scoreboard in the first half with four of their six points from frees.

The visitors did spring to life 10 minutes into the second half to scythe through the home defence to score the game’s only goal. Moments earlier Sean Quigley was denied a goal with what looked like a foot block at the other end. Marty Duffy didn’t seen an infringement however, and Quigley slotted over the resultant 45.

The Clare goal was an excellently worked score with Cian O’Dea and Jamie Malone involved in a flowing, incisive move that saw the ball laid off to Keelan Sexton, who was able to palm the ball to the empty net.

Tubridy had the sides level just a minute later but from that point the game belonged to the home team. Hard running created free scoring opportunities that Quigley punished with aplomb while Breen and Mulrone foraged forward to again split the posts.

For Fermanagh this was the perfect response to three chastening defeats in-a-row as Pete McGrath’s look to secure their place in Division Two for a third successive year.

Fermanagh: T Treacy; M Jones, C Cullen, K Connor; C Murphy, B Mulrone (0-2), A Breen (0-3); E Donnelly, L Cullen; P McCusker (0-1), R Jones (0-1), R Lyons; E Courtney (0-2), S Quigley (0-8, 0-5 frees, 0-2 45), T Corrigan (0-1). Subs: E McManus for Corrigan (7), D McCusker for Murphy (48), J McMahon for R Lyons (50), D Keenan for McManus (56), T McCaffrey for Courtney (70), C Beacom for P McCusker (70).

Clare: J Hayes; M McMahon, K Harnett, J Hayes; L Markham, G Kelly, D Ryan; C O’Connor, G Brennan; C O’Dea, K Sexton (1-0), S Brennan; E Cleary (0-5, 0-4 frees), D Tubridy (0-4, 0-2), J Malone (0-1). 

Subs: D Egan for O’Dea (53), E Collins for Hayes (61), S Malone for Cleary (63), D Nagle for Ryan (64).

Referee: M Duffy (Sligo)

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