Fermanagh eye Donegal clash after maintaining their unbeaten start against Kildare

Sean Cassidy of Fermanagh.
Sean Cassidy in action for Fermanagh during their Allianz Football League Division Two match against Kildare at Brewster Park on Saturday Picture: Donnie Phair (Donnie Phair/Photo by Donnie Phair)
Allianz Football League Division Two: Fermanagh 2-10 Kildare 0-12

Fermanagh made it three points out of four in NFL Division Two following a four-point win over Kildare in Brewster Park on Saturday night.

Kieran Donnelly’s side were many people’s tip for relegation, but it has been a positive start to the campaign by the Ernemen as they backed up their opening day draw in Navan against Meath with a deserved victory over the Lilywhites.

A fortuitous Declan McCusker goal in the first half helped Fermanagh into a six-point half time advantage and Sean Cassidy bagged a second goal with eight minutes left to play to seal the points.

Donnelly was delighted with his side’s performance as they carried out the gameplan they had worked on during the week.

“We were very pleased with our all-round performance. I thought we showed great composure in possession tonight which was key against a physically big Kildare team.

“That was our gameplan all week and I think we did that well. We were patient enough to find the pockets of spaces and get those 1v1s that I felt we needed to generate against a side of their quality.

“I thought that was key to our success and some of our scores in the first half were excellent.

“I felt we could suck them across and getting players in those 1v1s situations and that materialised so very happy with that,” he said.

Fermanagh had looked the better side throughout the first half with the Cullen twins, Lee and Che, landing two terrific scores to get the home side up and running.

However, indiscipline at the back kept Kildare in touch with the Lilywhites four first half points coming from frees.

The home side though were able to take advantage of a black card shown to wing back Brian Byrne as they opened up a cushion in the second quarter although there was more than a touch of fortune about McCusker’s goal.

His attempt at a point dropped short but it was spilled into the net by Kildare goalkeeper Mark Donnellan to leave Fermanagh with a 1-7 to 0-4 lead at the interval.

Kildare did show more intent in the early stages of the second half as Paddy Woodgate and Donnellan tagged on points but Fermanagh were able to chip away at scores at the other end to maintain a cushion.

Ross Bogue stops a penalty kick from Kevin Feely
Fermanagh's Ross Bogue saves a penalty kick from Kildare's Kevin Feely (Donnie Phair/Photo by Donnie Phair)

Kildare did get back to within three points following scores from Mick O’Grady and Ben McCormack but Fermanagh responded with their second goal as Cassidy slotted to the net following a fine move by the home side.

A couple of scores for Kildare left four between the sides and they had a chance to put late pressure on Fermanagh when they were awarded a penalty deep in added on time but impressive Fermanagh goalkeeper Ross Bogue, on his league debut, saved from Kevin Feely as it finished 2-10 to 0-12.

Next up for Fermanagh is an away game against Donegal and Donnelly says it is a challenge his side will relish.

“Donegal is an excellent team, and we know that. They are the talk of the country at the minute, they are thinking of pushing for All Irelands.

“But that’s the teams you want to play so and that’s the challenge you want to come up against and these players will take confidence from this and take that into two weeks’ time.”

Fermanagh: R Bogue; L Cullen 0-1, C Cullen 0-1, O Smyth; D McCusker 1-1, S McGullion, J Largo Elis 0-1; B Horan, J McDade; C McGee, R McCaffrey 0-1, C McShea; U Kelm 0-2 (1f), G Jones 0-2 (2f), S Cassidy 1-1
Subs: C McManus for McCusker (73), D King for Cassidy (73), T Bogue for McShea (73)
Kildare: M Donnellan 0-2 (1f, 1′45); M O’Grady 0-1, S Ryan, E Doyle; K Flynn, J Sargent, B Byrne; K Feely, K O’Callaghan 0-1; A Beirne, B McCormack 0-2, A O’Neill; P Woodgate 0-2, S O’Sullivan, J Hyland 0-4 (3f)
Subs: L Killian for O’Neill (h/t), R Houlihan for Byrne (h/t), C Bolton for O’Sullivan (49), A Masterson for Woodgate (67), P McDermott for Doyle (67)