Jones the driving force for Fermanagh

Wicklow 0-09 Fermanagh 1-16

Jones put the shackles on Wicklow’s James Stafford and kicked two marvellous points as well, one in each half. But he was not the lone raider for Fermanagh, lethal corner-forwards Paul Ward and Sean Quigley contributing four and six points respectively to their victory total.

Both counties, who are being earmarked as potential candidates for an early relegation back down to Division 4, needed to get their campaigns off to a win.

With the wind behind them Fermanagh burst from the blocks at a blistering pace, took a 0-4 lead in the first seven minutes with the points by Ward and Quigley, and while Wicklow did succeed in reducing the margin to 0-3 to 0-5, the Erne men went on to extend their lead to eight, 0-11 to 0-3 at half-time.

Sean Quigley tacked on another point after the restart, but Wicklow tried to lift their game when free taker John McGrath responded with two points. However, the home side were hit by a sucker goal when Fermanagh’s wing-forward Tommy McElroy poked the ball home from close range.

Fermanagh moved the ball at pace, while Wicklow were in deeper trouble minutes later, reduced to 14 men after corner-forward Austin O’Malley was sent off for a second yellow card.

Wicklow had to rely on John McGrath (free), star defenders Alan Byrne and Paudge McWalter, and substitute Brendan McCrea for their scores, but Fermanagh held the upper hand right to the end.

Scorers for Fermanagh: S Quigley 0-6 (3fs, 1 45), P Ward 0-4 (1f), T McElroy 1-1, R Jones, D Keenan 0-2 each, D McCusker 0-1.

Scorers for Wicklow: J McGrath 0-4fs, Alan Byrne 0-2, P McWalter, R Finn (f), B McCrea 0-1 each.

FERMANAGH: C Snow, R McCluskey, S Lyons, J Woods, M O’Brien, B Cox, D McCusker, J Sherry, R Jones, T McElroy, S McCabe, E Donnelly, P Ward, D Keenan, S Quigley.

Subs: M McGrath for J Sherry (57), T Corrigan for S Quigley (66), N Bogue for M O’Brien (70), K Connor for S McCabe (70).

WICKLOW: J Flynn, C Hyland, D Power, A Byrne, P McWalter, M McLoughlin, P McLoughlin, J Stafford, A McLoughlin, D Hayden, R Finn, D Healy, J McGrath, P Earls, A O’Malley.

Subs: P Dalton for P McLoughlin (ht), D O’Sullivan for R Finn (52), B McCrea for P Earls (52) J Sheerin for M McLoughlin (64), L Benson for P McWalter (70).

Referee: D Brazil (Offaly).

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