Fermanagh make it two wins from two against Offaly
Allianz Football League Division Three: Fermanagh 2-11 Offaly 1-6
IT was a case of more of the same for the Fermanagh faithful at Brewster Park as the Ernemen ran out comfortable winners for the second week in-a-row.
In front of almost 2,000 spectators, the home side had eight points to spare over an Offaly side who had no real answers for the intensity or level of organisation shown by Rory Gallagher's men.
Two goals in the first half set the platform for the Fermanagh victory and while Offaly rallied to hit 1-3 without reply the home side were able to keep the Leinster men scoreless from the 46th minute, while at the other end they rattled off five points to put the game beyond any doubt.
For Erne boss Gallagher there were lots of positives to be seen in the performance of his team.
“I would be much more pleased with the display compared to last week. I thought we produced a lot of good football and put up a decent score, 2-11,” he said after the game before turning his attention to areas for improvement.
“The negatives might be giving them a few scoreable frees in the first half and they probably missed a few more scoreable frees too.
“We would be disappointed that when we were eight up at half-time that we didn't push on and we let them make a game of it but overall we are pleased.”
Fermanagh dominated the opening 20 minutes as they sped into a 1-5 to 0-1 lead. Barry Mulrone hit two sublime points from play during this period while the all-important first goal arrived on the quarter-hour mark. Sean Quigley cut out a short Offaly kick-out before feeding Conal Jones (above) who finished well with the side of his foot.
The goal came as a direct result of the Fermanagh tactic of pushing up on the Offaly kick-out and while Gallagher acknowledged that the cause of that first green flag might be chalked down to a goalkeeping mistake from Patrick Dunican, he argued that it was his own team's good play that manufactured the error.
“You have to create mistakes and I would be very pleased with that first goal. A lot of teams like to work it short,” he said.
“We feel, all be it we were missing Ryan (Jones), that we have a strong midfield. You don't win them all and sometimes you can leave yourself exposed but we were pleased with how that worked out for us today.”
Fermanagh's second goal arrived 10 minutes before the break after a thunderous Jones drive hammered off the crossbar with Daniel Teague showing a calm head to collect and feed Aidan Breen who scored from close range.
The home side were in a comfortable position leading into the break but Offaly were to enjoy a purple patch with the Ernemen failing to score for 28 minutes.
In that time, the visitors notched 1-3 and had the margin down to three points. Michael Brazil hit their goal with Anton Sullivan proving their best forward on the day at the edge of the square.
The rot was stopped by a classy Sean Quigley point who collected well and swung over a delightful effort with his left foot to regain momentum for his side. Quigley was a replacement for his brother Seamus, who missed out due to a chest infection, while Fermanagh were also without the suspended James McMahon and Ryan Jones.
They had further points from Kane Connor, Ryan Lyons and Quigley from a placed ball while in defence they never looked in any real trouble with Cian McManus, Mickey Jones and Declan McCusker all putting in strong performances.
Fermanagh now face their first away trip of the League next weekend as they travel to Sligo looking to maintain their perfect start.
Fermanagh: P Cadden; M Jones, C Cullen, C McManus, B Mulrone (0-2), D McCusker (0-1), K Connor (0-1), E Donnelly, L Cullen, D Teague, P McCusker (0-1), A Breen (1-0), S Quigley (0-4, 0-2 frees), C Jones (1-1), E Courtney. Subs: C Corrigan for Teague (43), C McGee for Courtney (47), R Lyons (0-1) for L Cullen (54), R McCluskey for P McCusker (61), E Maguire for Quigley (65), E McManus for A Breen (68)
Yellow cards: C McManus (22), B Mulrone (43)
Offaly: P Dunican, D Brady, P McConway, S Pender, D Dempsey, P Cunningham, N Darby (0-1 free), C McNamee, B O'Dea, J Hayes, M Brazil (1-0), S Nally, C Johnson, A Sullivan (0-2), N Dunne (0-2 frees).
Subs: J O'Connor (0-1) for Hayes (29), B Allen for Johnson (47), S Doyle O'Dea (52), J Moloney for McNamee (54), A Henessy for Dunne (61)
Yellow cards: P Cunningham (16), A Sullivan (23), J O'Connor (59), S Doyle (73)
Referee: E O'Grady (Leitrim)