Fermanagh make United work hard for the win



By Rod Nawn


ON a blustery, wet Wednesday afternoon at Coleraine Showgrounds Fermanagh’s dream of Super Cup NI glory ended with a 2-0 defeat to a gifted Manchester United side.

In front of a big crowd, the Premier League club’s youngsters were almost stunned when Adam Cathcart tried to set up Dan O’Connor whose effort was cleared off the line.

The authority of the United defence and midfield came to the fore soon after, and in the 21st minute Fermanagh ‘keeper Alex McClelland’s outstretched left foot prevented a goal, and eight minutes later he made himself ‘big’ to thwart the onrushing Sem Abraha as United incessantly pressed.

But a 31st minute corner from the right caused disarray in the Fermanagh goalmouth and somehow Majid Balagun bundled United into the lead.

Fermanagh’s 5-4-1 system was nevertheless doing an effective job denying United real space, and the departure through injury of the impressive skipper Adam Armstrong did not unduly upset the energetic display from the boys in familiar green. Jamie Edwards donned the captain’s armband as the disappointed Armstrong trudged off.

Head Coach Keith Douglas saw his side hold out to the break, but ‘tweaked’ his line-up at the restart with Callum St Ledger to add an attacking spark. Soon after Fionn Stroud, who scored the winning goal against Dundalk on Tuesday, was also called from the bench.

The pressure from a quick-footed United forward unit continued, but only some vigorous scramble defence keep the Fermanagh goal intact.


A raft of substitutions failed to stem the United tide and in the 65th minute Balagun turned provider in a sweeping move down the left and left Bendito Mantato with the simplest of tap-ins for a 2-0 lead.

Fermanagh’s tiring side did not, characteristically, let heads drop and Stroud and Odhdran McGovern harried the opposition into some passing errors.

This was a display of real character and defiance against a team littered with professionally-trained youngsters and the team in red certainly knew it had to work for its victory.

The 2-0 win left United clear Group winners while Fermanagh, with that win over Dundalk, left to see who it will meet in the play-offs.

CO: FERMANAGH: Alex McClelland (Thompson); Oisin Keenan, Dan O’Connor (Funston, 64), Adam Armstrong (capt., Mackie, 32), Kelan Kernaghan, Odhran McGovern, Ethan Kavanagh (Stroud, 44), Jamie Edwards (Vennard, 64), Corey Porter (Lennox, 64), Adam Cathcart (St Ledger, 41), Tadhg Britton.

Substitutes: Ross Thompson, Jonny Vennard, Bruce Lennox, Fionn Stroud, Callum St Ledger, Harry Funston, Ewan Mackie




To read more.. Subscribe to current edition

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA