GAA Football

Fermanagh beat Derry to win All-Ireland junior title

Aine McGovern of Fermanagh holds aloft the All-Ireland Junior cup after the TG4 Ladies Football All-Ireland Junior Championship Final replay between Derry and Fermanagh at St Tiernach's Park in Clones Picture by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Louise Gunn at Clones

All-Ireland Ladies' Junior Football Championship final replay: Derry 0-11 Fermanagh 2-9

FERMANAGH finally got their hands on that elusive first ever All-Ireland title with a deserved four-point win over Derry in yesterday’s All-Ireland Junior Championship final at St Tiernach’s Park, Clones.

Fermanagh, playing much better this time compared to two weeks ago, led 0-4 to no score before Derry opened their account in the 16th minute.

Eimear Smyth got the Ulster champions up and running in the third minute and they looked to be in for the game’s first goal only for a great block from wing half-back Nuala Browne to deny the lively Lisa Maguire.

Fermanagh lost Joanne Doonan to the sin-bin in the seventh minute, referee Kevin Corcoran taking action after the break in play to call the Kinawley player back for an earlier incident.

However, Fermanagh stretched their lead with points from Maguire, Sharon Murphy and Smyth before Derry finally got off the mark with an Emma Doherty free in the 16th minute and Ciara Moore cut the deficit to two points in the 22nd minute.

Fermanagh did find the back of the Derry net in the 25th minute with a cool finish from Bláithín Bogue after a superb cushioned pass from Smyth. While it was a great finish, the build-up to the goal proved a costly one for Derry with injured centre half-forward Ciara Moore having to be stretchered off.

The lengthy stoppage, however, helped Derry as they tagged on three injury-time points from Jackie Donnelly, Doherty (free) and Annie Crozier to leave Fermanagh 1-4 to 0-5 ahead at the interval.

Murphy extended Fermanagh’s lead to three on the resumption, but three unanswered points - one from Ciara McGurk and two Doherty frees between the 35th and 43rd minutes saw Derry claw their way back into the game and the sides were level, 1-5 to 0-8.

However, then came the killer blow for Derry when Doonan’s effort for a point in the 44th minute dropped in under the crossbar despite goalkeeper Cheree Mackey getting her hands to it but not able to keep it out. Derry did not recover from that and the Erne girls tagged on another two points to lead by five after 51 minutes.

Derry, though, had plenty of possession and time was still on their side. Yet they perhaps looked for the goal when taking points may have been the better option.

Another Doherty free reduced the gap back to four, but a Murphy free and Maguire point left the goals between them, 2-9 to 0-9, in injury-time.

Derry, to their credit, kept battling with two late points from Aoife Laverty and Doherty (free), but time ran out and, despite finishing with 13 players after the two late sin-binnings of Aisling Maguire and Marita McDonald, the huge Erne support counted down the final 10 seconds on the clock and celebrations began.

“It’s great after last week but they were absolutely brilliant today,” said Erne boss Emmet Curry.

“We went home and on the Tuesday after the draw we got back to training and stuck our heads down and had a game plan and we stuck by it today.

“That’s a completely new team from last year; there are only six left and it’s some turnaround from being beaten by 54 points in the championship last year.

“This is great for the future and it looks bright, but they have to grow and they need another year or two to mature at intermediate.

“I’m delighted for the girls, for everyone and the support today was unreal.”

Derry manager Paul Hasson was full of pride for his players, despite his obvious disappointment.

“My first thoughts turn to Ciara Moore, who seemed to suffer a very, very serious injury and talk about the luck of the green, they went up the field and scored a goal from it,” he said.

“They were the better team on the day.”

Derry: C Mackey; A McGough, D Donnelly, C Glass (captain); N Browne, K Holly, D Kivlehan; A Laverty (0-1), Emma Doherty (0-6f), J Donnelly (0-1), C Moore (0-1) Erin Doherty; A Crozier (0-1), M Devine, C McGurk (0-1)

Subs: A Glasgow for C Moore (29), R McAlister for N Browne (35), C Fletcher for E Doherty (32), R Curran for A Crozier (61)

Fermanagh: R Gleeson; J Doonan (1-0), C Murphy, N McManus; M Connolly, S Hamilton, A Maguire; M McDonald, A McGovern (captain) (0-1); R O’Reilly, A Woods, L Maguire (0-2); E Smyth (0-2), S Murphy (0-4, 0-1 free), B Bogue (1-0)

Subs: D McManus for A McGovern (blood sub, 1), A McGovern for D McManus (blood sub, 7), N McManus for B Bogue (45), D McManus for R O’Reilly (54), E Murphy for M Connolly (62)

Referee: K Corcoran (Mayo)

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