GAA Football

Pete McGrath disappointed as Fermanagh fall to defeat in Cork

STANDFIRST

Pete McGrath saw his Fermanagh team fall to a second successive Division Two defeat in Cork
From Stephen Barry at Páirc Uí Rinn

Allianz Football League Division Two

Cork 1-14 Fermanagh 0-9

A POOR Fermanagh performance resulted in an eight-point defeat in Cork, as Pete McGrath’s men travelled home with a sense of “deep disappointment”.

The fifth League meeting of these sides since the turn of the century saw Fermanagh once again fail to score a goal, with Niall Coakley’s 24th-minute major the decisive score. Paul Kerrigan should have made it a bigger margin of victory, but he twice sent shots whizzing inches over the bar and was twice blocked by the impressive Thomas Treacy.

“There were some positives but generally the mood is one of deep disappointment that we didn’t perform anywhere near to what we think we’re capable of against a big team on an excellent field,” said McGrath after the full-time whistle.

“When we’re playing well, we play a running game. It’s high energy, it’s people working their socks off, it’s people getting back and then coming forward in numbers and taking scoring opportunities. Those are the things that we didn’t do today.

“We seemed to be very heavy-legged, devoid of energy and real enthusiasm at times. Why that is the case, I’m not sure. But looking at the performance today, we were flat and chasing the game from quite an early stage.”

The Ernemen’s total of nine points was an improvement on their tally in their most recent League outings against the Rebels (0-7, 0-6, 0-3 and 0-8 respectively), but that says more about previous performances than it does about yesterday’s showing.

“We hit eight wides in the first-half and we were snatching at scoring opportunities at times, instead of working the ball until the opportunity was right,” asserted McGrath in his analysis of his team's attack.

“The Cork goal gave them serious daylight and thereafter they were generally controlling the thing and holding us at arm’s length with that five- or six-point cushion at all times. They looked more capable of scoring goals than we did, they scored one and could’ve scored another two. Certainly, our ‘keeper made a few very good saves.

“As the game entered the last 15 minutes, Cork knew that they were in control and completely dictating the pattern and tempo of the game. It was going to take us to get a goal to get back into the game and that never really looked like coming.”

Cork impressed from the start, with captain Kerrigan smartly exchanging one-twos with Luke Connolly and Donncha O’Connor to kick two early scores, the second of which whistled just over the bar.

Coakley and John O’Rourke added to Cork’s lead as Fermanagh’s wide count began to grow.

Two long-range placed balls from Sean Quigley kept the visitors in touch, but Cork went on a scoring run of 1-3 in the 12 minutes approaching the break. O’Connor kicked the first point, before beating his marker to feed Kerrigan, who set up Coakley for the crucial goal in the 24th minute.

Coakley, with a free, and Kerrigan extended Cork’s lead to six, 1-7 to 0-4, at the break, with Eddie Courtney offering the only reply with an injury-time point.

The sides traded points for much of the second-half, with Quigley always ready to reply when Brian O’Driscoll, Coakley or Connolly hit the target.

Kerrigan had a goal chance saved by Thomas Treacy, while Ken O’Halloran was sharp to save from Eoin Donnelly at the other end.

Points from Ryan Jones and Aidan Breen cut the deficit to five with 10 minutes remaining but Fermanagh failed to score thereafter, with Kerrigan, who twice could have goaled in the closing stages, O’Driscoll and Donal Óg Hodnett kicking the final three scores.

Cork: K O’Halloran; K Crowley, Tom Clancy (Clonakilty), M Shields; Tomas Clancy (Fermoy), J Loughrey, S Cronin; A Walsh, R Deane; Brian O’Driscoll (0-2), L Connolly (0-1), J O’Rourke (0-1); N Coakley (1-4, 3fs), D O’Connor (0-1), P Kerrigan (0-4).

Subs: C O’Neill for O’Connor (53), M Collins for O’Rourke (55), C O’Driscoll for Crowley (60), D Óg Hodnett (0-1) for Connolly (62), P Kelleher for Coakley (67), K O’Driscoll for B O’Driscoll (70).

Yellow cards: J Loughrey (47), P Kerrigan (52).

Fermanagh: T Treacy, M Jones, C Cullen, B Mulcrone; D McCusker, R McCluskey, L Cullen; E Donnelly, R Hyde; A Breen (0-1), P McCusker, R Lyons; E Courtney (0-1), S Quigley (0-5, 3fs, 1 ’45), T Corrigan (0-1).

Subs: R Jones (0-1) for P McCusker (ht), K Connor for Lyons (ht), J McMahon for McCluskey (53), D Keenan for Corrigan (55), P Reihill for D McCusker (60).

Yellow cards: R Jones (47), C Cullen (52), R McCluskey (53), D McCusker (56).

Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow)

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