They tried hard, but in the end Donegal just had too much for a Fermanagh side who toiled hard, but failed to deliver for all their sweat.
Two goals from Odhran Mac Niallais and a missed penalty by Sean Quigley just before half time told the story of this game as a clinical Donegal made Fermanagh pay at every opportunity.
Donegal were well on top in the opening stages with Paddy McBrearty and Frank McGlynn getting the Tir Chonaill men into their stride with a point apiece in the first four minutes.
Fermanagh’s first arrived a minute later when Rory Kavanagh was yellow carded for a pull around the neck on Barry Mulrone and Tomás Corrigan made short work of the resultant free.
Nine minutes in and the Erne men were level when Barry Mulrone swung over a spectacular effort after a brilliant midfield fetch by Eoin Donnelly.
Donegal turned on the turbo though. First Martin O’Reilly fisted over when the goal was on. There was no such squeamishness seconds later when Odhran Mac Niallais ghosted in behind the Fermanagh defence to collect a McGlynn through ball and blast an unstoppable shot past Snow.
Fermanagh struck back with a Sean Quigley free, but Eoin McHugh’s leisurely response was an indicator of who was on top.
As the game moved into the second quarter Paddy McBrearty put five between them with a close in dead ball.
Fermanagh rallied well though with a Corrigan free and a beauty from long range by Eoin Donnelly putting a goal in it as the last five minutes of the half approached.
Odhran Mac Niallais connected with a glorious effort from distance to give Donegal a bit more daylight, but Fermanagh finished with a real spurt.
First Tomás Corrigan sent over two frees and then a minute into added time Aidan Breen sent a ball across the face of goal. It was brilliantly fetched by Sean Quigely, but McGree robbed the ball. However the Gaoth Dobhair man came out with the hand up and decked Ruairí Corrigan. Deegan consulted with his linesman before showing McGee red.
Quigley stood up to the penalty, but his shot to Mark Anthony McGinley’s right was too close and the St Michael’s man was able to get down and parry away, an act followed almost immediately by Deegan’s half-time whistle. That left the half-time scores pegged at Donegal 1-6 Fermanagh 0-7.
Fermanagh started the second half in fine fashion with Sean Quigley doing well to win possession before being fouled in a borderline penalty call, Corrigan doing the needful with the gimme free to cut the deficit to just a point.
But after that 14 man Donegal took control and it would be the 57th minute before Fermanagh’s next score arrived.
In the meantime Michael Murphy stroked over a free before the second half’s major turning point. Paddy McBrearty turned over the ball and Martin McElhinney gathered and it went through the hand to Odhran Mac Niallais who flicked home from close range. 44 minutes gone, five points in it again.
Michael Murphy started to motor too and he set up Martin O’Reilly to make it 2-8 to 0-8.
Paddy McBrearty and Martin McElhinney added further points before Fermanagh finally found an answer, Tomás Corrigan slipping over another close range dead ball.
With 12 minutes left Ryan Jones skated through an oddly under-populated Donegal defence before trimming the gap to two goals with a fine score. Then Eoin Donnelly was hacked down on his way through to goal and Fermanagh had to be satisfied with another Corrigan free.
But try as the might Fermanagh simply couldn’t reel Donegal in and the hosts gilded the lily in added time when first Eoin McHugh fired over a classy effort from under the stand side of the pitch before drawing a foul which allowed Colm McFadden to register his first score in intercounty football in 2016.
Wexford await in the qualifiers now for Pete McGrath’s men, while Donegal now prepare for an Ulster SFC semi-final against Monaghan.
Mark Anthony McGinley; Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee; Eamon McGee; Ryan McHugh, Frank McGlynn (0-1), Anthony Thompson; Rory Kavanagh, Hugh MFadden; Eoin McHugh (0-2), Martin McElhinney (0-1), Odhrán Mac Niallais (2-1); Patrick McBrearty (0-3, 1f), Michael Murphy (0-1f), Martin O’Reilly (0-2).
Subs: Leo McLoone for R Kavanagh 11m; Christy Toye for McLoone HT; Rory Kavanagh for F McGlynn 52m; Colm McFadden (0-1f) for P McBrearty 69m.
Christopher Snow; Michael Jones, Che Cullen, Marty O’Brien; Declan McCusker, James McMahon, Barry Mulrone (0-1); Eoin Donnelly (0-1), Aidan Breen; Paul McCusker, Ryan Jones (0-1), Richard O’Callaghan; Ruairí Corrigan, Sean Quigley (0-2f), Tomás Corrigan (0-6f).
Subs: Damian Kelly for C Cullen (BC) 47m; Niall Cassidy for R Corrigan 47m; Ryan Lyons for A Breen 58m; Conall Jones for J McMahon 58m; Daniel Teague for P McCusker 64m; Ciaran Flaherty for M O’Brien 73m.
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois).
Posted: 4:37 pm June 12, 2016
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