Dr McKenna Cup Group C
This was a first win over Monaghan after a sequence of seven straight defeats for Fermanagh. It was fully merited too and the fact that it came with nine different scorers getting on the board will have given Rory Gallagher much cause for encouragement as he reflects on his first outing as Erne manager.
Monaghan lead by a point at half-time, but two wonderfully taken goals and Ruairí Corrigan’s composed promptings when introduced in the second half helped secure victory for the homesters.
The game was badly impacted by the rain which crossed the Brewster pitch in sheets and the resultant heavy underfoot conditions. This saw plenty of mistakes and made ball handling extremely difficult.
There were five minutes gone when the first score arrived, David Garland clipping over from 25 metres to open the visitor’s account.
Less than a minute later Fermanagh responded in classy style with Sean Quigley putting the laces through a trademark effort from 40 metres.
Micheal Bannigan was a livewire in the Monaghan attack and he got off the mark by drilling over a well struck freee ten metres in from stand side of the pitch.
Fermanagh were getting good chances though, and were guilty of passing some of them up. Young Tempo star Lorcan McStravick showed good imagination to flick a ball up to fellow club man Aidan Breen but he hooked his shot wide.
Up the other end Monaghan were more clinical, Bannigan putting two between them with close range free after David Garland was fouled.
Fermanagh trimmed it back to the minimum after a quarter of an hour when Eoin McManus sent over a booming shot after finding a rare bit of space in the Farney rearguard.
After 20 minutes it was all square. Eoin Donnelly won a great mark from Pat Cadden’s restart. He charged forward and fed Sean Quigley who threaded a lovely ball through to Conall Jones and the Derrygonnelly man swung over for 0-3 apiece.
It didn’t last long though, a cheap enough free 24 metres out for Monaghan allowing Darvid Garland put Malachy O’Rourke’s men back in front.
Four minutes later James Wilson guided over a tricky shot from the right to give Monaghan a bit of daylight once more.
Fermanagh continued to have their fair share of the ball though and with seven minutes to go to the break Ryan Jones won a free which Sean Quigley tucked over from the edge of the D.
Two minutes later the Erne men had the ball in the net for the first time. Conall Jones shot fell short, but Aidan Breen collected and slotted the ball to the net only to turn and see his effort chalked off for touch on ground.
On the stroke of time in was a level game again. Ryan Lyons lumped a free in which Conall Jones collected before calculating his angles well to split the posts from close range.
Fermanagh couldnt keep the lead though. They were turned over on the way out with the ball, and Micheal Bannigan was on hand to feed Niall Kearns. The Sean Mac Dairmada man had plenty of time to guide over the lead point and send Monaghan in at the break with the slimmest of advantages.
That was to last only seconds into the new half with Fermanagh finding the net right from the throw in.
Aidan Breen won the ball on ground and dished it up to Ryan Jones, he held possession and fed the ball back to Breen who was on his feet with surprising alacrity. The Tempo man drove through and had Conall Jones riding shotgun. Jones took the pop pass before slipping a lovely shot back across the face of goal past the despairing dive of Rory Beggan.
Monaghan remained composed though and David Garland slipped over a tidy close range point in answer.
Then five minutes into the half it was level once more as Garland’s free from the right just about got over with the assistance of the crossbar.
It took then took a good stop by newbie keeper Pat Cadden on Darren Freeman to prevent Monaghan hitting the net.
Fermanagh edged back in front when Ryan Lyons dug out the ball and, under heavy pressure, fisted up to Paul McCusker who popped over the lead score.
The hosts then stretched further away with another well taken goal. Ryan Jones turned over Rory Beggan’s kick out near the stand sideline. He fed Ruairí Corrigan who fisted on to Aidan Breen and his blasted home a smashing finish past Beggan to make it 2-6 to 0-8.
Monaghan answered with a Micheal Bannigan free, but that was quickly cancelled out with a spectacular shot from hard out on the terrace sideline by Aidan Breen.
Monaghan had a second real chance of goal when Eoin Duffy made a dangerous drive through, but his stinging shot was well blocked out by Cian McManus at the cost of a 45. Rory Beggan stepped up and found the range at third time of asking to make it 2-7 to 0-10.
Then with seven minutes to play Beggan repeated the dose with a long range free from well out on the right hand side
Ryan Lyons repaid that coin in kind with a good long range dead ball of his own two minutes later.
With time running out it was Fermanagh who kicked on, doing so with some verve, hitting three points in quick succession.
First Declan McCusker set up Ryan Jones to slice over before Conor McGee pointed after malfunction on the Monaghan kick out.
Then there was a deserved point for the industrious Ruairi Corrigan who arced over to finish out the Erne scoring.
Owen Duffy slipped a shot over from out on right for Monaghan late on, but by then even six minutes of added time weren’t enough save this game for visitors.
A deserved win for Fermanagh, and the Gallagher reign on Erneside off to the perfect start.
Pat Cadden; Eamon McHugh, Che Cullen, Jack McCann; Paul McCusker (0-1), Declan McCusker, Lee Cullen; Eoin Donnelly, Ryan Jones (0-1); Eoin McManus (0-1), Ryan Lyons (0-1f), Aidan Breen (1-1); Lorcan McStravick, Conall Jones (1-2), Sean Quigley (0-2, 1f).
Subs: Cian McManus for J McCann 41m; Ruairi Corrigan (0-1) for E McManus 51m; Eddie Courtney for S Quigley 58m; Conor McGee (0-1) for L McStravick 61m; Kane Connor for C Jones 70m; Jonny Feely for Lee Cullen (BC) 75m.
Yellow cards: E McManus 20m; C Cullen 25m; R Lyons 56m.
Black card: L Cullen 73m
Rory Beggan (0-2, 1f, 1 45); John McCarron, Conor Boyle, Barry Kerr; Kieran Duffy, Pauric McGuirk, Stephen Finnegan; Niall Kearns (0-1), Neil McAdam; Owen Duffy (0-1), Michael Bannigan (0-3f), Paudie McKenna; David Garland (0-4, 2f), Darren Freeman, James Wilson (0-1).
Subs: Fintan Kelly for N Kearns 48m; Frank Connolly for S Finnegan 53m; Darren Hughes for D Freeman 58m; Dean Connolly for McKenna 58m; Barry McBennett for M Bannigan 66m; Owen Coyle for P McGuirk 68m.
Yellow card: P McKenna 10m; D Freeman 24m; N Kearns 34m.
Ref: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)