Fermanagh surge clear of Wicklow for resounding victory

The Ernemen scored three second-half goals to see off Oisin McConville’s side

Sean Cassidy of Fermanagh.
Sean Cassidy scored Fermanagh's opening goal in the win over Wicklow (Donnie Phair/Photo by Donnie Phair)

Tailteann Cup Group 3, round one

Fermanagh 3-16 Wicklow 0-9

THREE second-half goals saw Fermanagh cruise to an opening win over Wicklow at Brewster Park on Saturday.

The Ernemen had led by four at the break and in reality that advantage should have been greater as they missed goal chances.

However, they were much more clinical in the second half as Sean Cassidy palmed home their first goal in the 41st minute before substitute Conor Love made an immediate impact as he hit the net twice within three minutes of his introduction.

Fermanagh boss Kieran Donnelly was delighted with his side’s second-half display in particular.

“I thought we moved the ball well in the second half. We were frustrated at half-time because we had two or three goal chances in the first half that we didn’t take but I thought our defensive shape was good because they have physical size.

“The difference in the second half was that we maximised our chances. I felt we dominated them around the middle and our use of possession was better. I thought Sean’s goal and Conor’s two goals were excellent, so it was pleasing,” he said.

Donnelly made five changes from the side that started the Ulster Championship loss to Armagh. He felt it brought a freshness to his side, with those players who came in impressing, including attacker Callum Jones, who was involved in several of the home side’s scores.

“We felt it was important to give the boys who were training well a chance and Callum Jones was one of them.

“He has been excellent in-house, and he deserved his chance and I’m delighted he took it. He has great vision, and he made a difference.

“I felt there was a freshness throughout the team, and it adds to the hunger as well and hopefully that makes us better over the next few weeks.”

Next up for Fermanagh is a trip to Carlow next weekend and Donnelly believes they will go into it with added confidence.

“We drew the first game here last year, so we knew it was important to win today and it gives us that bit of a bounce going down there. It will be tough, any time we played them back in our time it was physical and competitive, especially down there, so we’ll expect nothing different,” he added.

Saturday was a tough day at the office for Wicklow manager Oisin McConville as his side were second best throughout.

“We were playing with the wind in the first half, and I thought we were really poor and we sowed the seeds for the performance in the first half – no energy, flat.

“We are so much better than that, these boys are so much better than that, but the scoreboard doesn’t lie, and we will just have to suck it up and take it on the chin,” he said.

McConville knows he faces a big job in turning things around for next Saturday’s home game against Laois.

“We have the opportunity next week and we still hold our fate in our own hands, but you have to be honest about it; if you look at our performance today could you see us turning it around? It is very, very difficult, but that is exactly what we have to do,” he said.