Daire O’Baoill stars as Donegal overwhelm Fermanagh in second-half of League clash

Tir Chonaill side keep their 100 per cent record in Division Two

Oisín Gallen and Cian McManus
Oisín Gallen and Cian McManus Oisín Gallen of Donegal and Cian McManus of Fermanagh in action during Saturday's clash in Letterkenny Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Andrew Paton (©INPHO/Andy Paton ©INPHO/Andy Paton/©INPHO/Andrew Paton )
Allianz Football League Division Two, round three
Donegal 2-16 Fermanagh 0-8

IT took Donegal around 40 minutes to figure out a tricky Fermanagh side in Letterkenny, but when they did, Jim McGuinness’s men inflicted a crushing defeat on the visitors.

The home side were helped by Fermanagh keeper Ross Bogue, so impressive in the win over Kildare, being caught in no-man’s-land and allowing man-of-the-match Daire O’Baoill to lob the ball into an empty net in the 40th minute.

It was the risk/reward tactic which all managers play with their keepers these days, but in this case it cost the Ernemen.

O’Baoill’s goal put Donegal into a 1-8 to 0-6 lead and Fermanagh never recovered as the home side stormed well clear in a most one-sided second half.

Fermanagh gave the home side plenty to think about in the opening half and were a little unlucky to trail by a point (0-6 to 0-5) at the break.

Happy Donegal boss Jim McGuinness hailed his side’s maximum points.

“Whenever you end up with a good score on the board you have to be happy,” he said.

“We were challenged a lot in the first half and asked a lot of questions but I was happy with the positivity and our energy levels in the second half.

“But three games in and six points on the board and that is exactly what we wanted to achieve.

“It give us a chance to look at players as well.”

While promotion is surely the main aim, McGuinness deflects such talk.

“We are not focused on promotion but are looking to have as many points on the board as possible.’’

A well-drilled Fermanagh side began brightly and the impressive Sean Cassidy opened the scoring after an intricate move with a well- executed point in the sixth minute.

The Ernesiders had most of the possession and Cassidy converted a 25-metre free after the lively Ultan Kelm was fouled.

It took the somewhat tentative home side 12 minutes to get off the mark as O’Baoill thumped over a great point from 35 metres.

Fermanagh stretched their lead, though, as team captain Declan McCusker pointed a mark.

Donegal were growing into the game but hit four wides on the spin and Cassidy called a mark to put Fermanagh into a 0-4 to 0-2 lead by the 16th minute.

Oisin Gallen replied with a pointed free two minutes later and then O’Baoill levelled matters with a mighty strike that saw the ball curl over the bar from 35 metres.

The home side took the lead for the first time in the 27th minute when the increasingly influential Gallen pointed after Lee Cullen had clattered into Ryan McHugh earning a free and a yellow card.

Fermanagh showed they still meant business as Conor McGee curled over a beauty from the wing to level matters again and it took another massive point from the brilliant O’Baoill to edge the somewhat patchy favourites in front at the break.

Fermanagh got the first score of the second half but they were to score just two more points as Donegal cantered to victory.

The rout began with O’Baoill’s first goal in the 45th minute and he netted another five minutes later.

Michael Langan, Ryan McHugh and Paddy McBrearty landed some fine points and it took a brilliant save on the line from Fermanagh’s Josh Largo Eliis to prevent another goal with Bogue again caught off his line.

Oisin Gallen had a similar chance in the dying minutes, but chose to take a point.

Disappointed Fermanagh team manager Kieran Donnelly said his side had a good opening half and were “in a good place.”

“We felt we were pinning Donegal back but they came out in the second half and got scores at key times and they are a physically big team and once they pinned us in we struggled to get out.

“We took contact when we didn’t need to and were turned over several times that led to big scores and we left some scores behind us.

“But we are a young squad and that is a massive learning curve for us. We are going to have to re-focus for Cork.”

On that crucial first goal Donnelly said: “Ross did so well for us against Kildare and we felt we did not help him in that phase as we took the ball into contact when he was out and that is critical too.”

“It was disappointing to lose that goal at that stage.”

Donegal S Patton; K McGettigan, B McCole, S McMenamin; RMcHugh, C McMonagle; C Thompson, M Langan (0-1): P Mogan (0-1) O Doherty, D O’Baoill (2-3); P McBrearty (0-3f) O Gallen (0-2f), J Brennan

Subs M Curran (0-1) for K McGettigan and A Doherty (0-2) for J Brennan (h-time),J MacCeallbhui (0-2) for C Thompson (39), H McFadden for C Moore (53), L McGlynn for O Doherty (56), D MacGiolla Bride for M Langan (58)

Fermanagh R Bogue; L Cullen, C Cullen, O Smyth; D McCusker (0-1f) S McGullion, j Largo/Ellis; B Horan (0-1), J McDade; C McGee (0-1) R McCaffrey, C McShea; U Kelm, G Jones, S Cassidy (0-3,2f)

Subs T Bogue (0-1) for R McCaffrey, D King (0-1) for G Jones, C McManus for J Largo Ellis (53), C Jones for B Horan (60), J McMahon for C McShea (63)

Referee F Kelly (Longford).