Hurling & Camogie

Warwickshire beat Fermanagh in physical battle

Visitors play on the edge and get past Ernemen

Daniel Teague was among the goals in Fermanagh's win over Cavan
Daniel Teague Daniel Teague (left) scored three points in a losing cause for Fermanagh

Allianz Hurling League Division 3B final

Fermanagh 1-13 Warwickshire 1-18

A CONTROVERSIAL goal from Warwickshire’s Luke Hands was the key score in this frantic decider in Ederney on Sunday.

Hands looked to be well inside the square when he finished a long ball from the outstanding Kevin McKernan to the Erne net 15 minutes from time.

But neither referee Conor Daly nor the umpires reacted so the goal stood.

Hand’s clinical finish put the winners ahead by 1-10 to 1-5 and it was a lead that a disjointed Fermanagh never looked like breaching.

Warwickshire thoroughly deserved their victory, with McKernan a huge factor, but they were lucky that at least two of their players avoided red cards in the opening half after a few ugly clashes

As it was, they lost full-forward Ian Dwyer to a second yellow five minutes from the end but Jack Grealish and Hands were lucky not to be sidelined for heavy challenges in the opening half.

Fermanagh had a bright start playing into a stiff breeze with a fine point from Luca McCusker after a minute following an inspirational one-handed pass from Caolan Duffy.

Brian Teehan added to this tally when he tore through the centre of the Warwickshire defence and arrowed over a fine score.

Warwickshire responded with a David Devine free and quickly gained momentum with two quickfire points from Ian Dwyer and recent recruit and ex-Antrim player McKernan from the Sarsfields club in Belfast.

McCusker levelled matters with a free and the home side had a great chance of a goal when Tom Keenan put Danann McKeogh through one on one with Warwickshire keeper Conor Cummins, who somehow used his body to block McKeogh’s blaster.

But a much physically superior Warwickshire were asserting themselves, getting around the breaks and a lighter Fermanagh side struggled to make any real impression

McKernan added another point and corner-forward Hands, along with another McKernan free, put the winners into a 0-7 to 0-3 lead by the 15th minute.

McCusker pointed a free but that was to be the last Fermanagh point of the half as Warwickshire took over.

Exchanges were tetchy and Warwickshire’s towering Jack Grealish was lucky to escape with a yellow card following a melee.

He then was awarded a point that looked about three feet wide.

But Warwickshire were winning all the dirty ball, with marksman David Devine pushing them to a 0-12 to 0-5 lead.

Fermanaagh managed to get a goal before the break when Teehan found McKeogh with a fine pass and the latter blasted to the net, a score that prompted Warwickshire’s excitable manager Tony Joyce to protest that Danny Teague had struck the ball twice from a sideline cut seconds previously.

That goal gave the home side some impetus as they turned over with the breeze in the second half.

Tempers flared and there was a brief exchange between Warwickshire boss Joyce and Fermanagh manager Joe Baldwin just before the half-time whistle.

Joyce, who was fortunate not to be red-carded, stayed on the pitch until both teams left the field.

Tom Keenan narrowed the gap to two points, but the inevitable McKernan put the margin back out to three.

But the remainder of the half was pockmarked with some ugly clashes as Warwickshire kept a firm grip all over the field.

Dan Lowry and Devine were on target for Warwickshire, but the crucial score came in the 53rd minute when a long ball from McKernan was flicked to the net by Hands.

That was the clincher for the winners but it looked a cast-iron square-ball.

That left Warwickshire with a 1-15 to 1-10 lead, and it was always going to be uphill for the home side thereafter.

Fermanagh attacked in waves, but a well-organised Warwickshire side held firm and struck with deadly effect on the counter- attack for a deserved victory.

Fermanagh M Curry; S McKendry, R Porteous, C Duffy (0-1); R McGurn, R Bogue, D Teague(0-3f); C Duffy, B Corrigan; T Duane, B Teehan (0-2), L McCusker (0-4,2f); T Keenan (0-1), D McKeogh (1-1,f), S Corrigan (0-1)

Subs C McKiernan for M Curry (ht) JP McGarry for T Duane (48), J Tormey for D McKeogh ((56)

Warwickshire C Cummins; A Hanley, D Ryan, N Lenehan; O Slattery, C McKeague, J O’Connor; K McKernan (0-4f), E Brannigan (0-3); D Lowry (0-1), J Grealish (0-1), D Devine (0-7,5f); K Magee, I Dwyer (0-1), L Hands (1-1), R Duggan for L Hands (62)

Referee Conor Daly (Kildare)