From start to finish, McGrath got the response he would have wished for, after making the pre-match headlines for omitting the three Quigley brothers from his starting team.
“We needed these points — to win by eight or nine points was great and we didn’t think coming down yesterday that we would do that, but we certainly thought we could win the game,” said McGrath afterwards.
“I am delighted with the performance — particularly in the first half. In the second half we were a wee bit scrappy but at least we kept Limerick at arm’s length and never looked like losing the game.”
He added: “To get that victory and with two home matches against Wexford and Offaly, I am very hopeful of gathering enough points to ensure we don’t go down to Division Four.”
Fermanagh steamrolled Limerick in the opening 35 minutes — they kicked nine fine points from play to help them to a 0-13 to 1-2 interval lead.
But it was a half that saw Chris Snow deny Limerick goals from Pa Ranahan and Seamus O’Carroll.
Limerick did get a 19th- minute goal from Eoin Hanrahan but it was all Fermanagh for much of the half.
The visitors to Newcastle West had Tomas Corrigan and Ryan Jones in sparkling form and they helped them to a 0-6 to 0-0 lead after 14-minutes.
Limerick had their only point from play in the half and the Hanrahan goal but Fermanagh continued to dominate, to lead by eight at the interval.
The early minutes of the second half were scoreless but it was Corrigan and Fermanagh that always looked the more likely to score.
Indeed Limerick had to wait until injury-time to get their only point from play in the second half.
Scorers for Limerick: E Hanrahan 1-3 (0-2), I Ryan 0-2 (2f), T Lee 0-1.
Scorers for Fermanagh: T Corrigan 0-10 (5f), R Jones 0-3, R McCluskey, T McElroy, E Donnelly, R O’Callaghan, J Woods 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: D O’Sullivan; P Browne, J McCarthy, C Moran; I Corbett, S Lucey, P Ranahan; J Galvin, T Lee; E Hanrahan, M Brosnan, M Fitzgibbon; D Neville, G Collins, I Ryan.
Subs: M O’Riordan for S Lucey (16), S O’Carroll for M Fitzgibbon (20), G Noonan for M Brosnan (h-t), D Treacy for S O’Carroll (40), G Hegarty for J Galvin (55), K Phair for G Collins (61).
FERMANAGH: C Snow; J Woods, C Cullen, T Daly; D McCusker, R McCluskey, T McElroy; E Donnelly, R O’Callaghan; L Cullen, R Jones, P McCusker; R Ormsby, B Cox, T Corrigan.
Subs: N Cassidy for R Ormsby (41), E Courtney for B Cox (41), B Mulrone for T McElroy (61), C Jones for P McCusker (61), A Breen for T Daly (64), N Shannon for D McCusker (65).
Referee: L Devanney (Mayo).