Pete McGrath hails Fermanagh’s ‘composure and grit’

Fermanagh 0-12 Tyrone 1-9: Fermanagh dug out the point they needed to avoid relegation, holding neighbours and Division Two finalists Tyrone to a draw at Brewster Park.

Pete McGrath hails Fermanagh’s ‘composure and grit’

A feisty Ulster derby was level five times, and ended with the Erne men running down the clock in a perilous possession game that, fortunately for them, paid off.

“To gain something from this game was going to take energy, manliness, composure and grit,” said Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath.

“It was going to take character and I think we had all of those qualities in abundance here.”

McGrath admitted his players employed a high-risk strategy in the closing stages as they backed themselves in playing a lateral passing game to starve their opponents of possession.

“Tyrone are exceptionally good on the counter-attack and yes, it was heart-stopping stuff given what was at stake.

“There was a period in the second-half when we were in total control, we went three ahead and then we let them into it again.

“And then we had great chances down here, we had chances, opportunities and possession. We didn’t capitalise on that possession.

Tyrone failed to win either of their last two games, having secured promotion last month, and while they completed their programme unbeaten, manager Mickey Harte is anxious to eradicate the complacency that has crept into the minds of his players. “We have got to decide that we can do something better than we did in the last two games,” he said.

“I know it’s difficult when you’re already qualified for the final. It is difficult to put yourselves to the pin of your collar, but it’s something we have to be able to do.

“Now we have to go into a final with two relatively poor results, from our own perspective, not just the results, casting no aspersions on the opposition, but the quality of our play. If we don’t, then it will just be a chastening lesson for us.”

Wing back Barry Tierney fired in a 10th minute goal to send the Red Hands on their way to a narrow 1-4 to 0-6 interval lead. By that time, both sides had lost key attackers, Sean Cavanagh and Fermanagh’s Tomas Corrigan, to black cards, but the Erne men reeled off a string of fine points in the third quarter. Ryan Lyons, Daniel Teague and Sean Quigley all found the target as they went three points clear.

Tyrone hit back for substitute Tiernan McCann to level the game, and in the closing stages, Pat Cadden and Ronan O’Neill swapped points, with both sides seemingly happy to settle for a draw.

Scorers for Fermanagh:

S Quigley 0-3 (2f), T Corrigan (1f), R Lyons 0-2 each, D Teague, P McCusker, E Donnelly, D Kelly, P Cadden 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tyrone:

B Tierney 1-0, R O’Neill (1f), R Donnelly 0-2 each, R Brennan, D McCurry (f), M Bradley (f), T McCann, N Sludden 0-1 each.

FERMANAGH:

C Snow, M Jones, C Cullen, M O’Brien, D McCusker, J McMahon, D Kelly, E Donnelly, B Mulrone, P McCusker, R Jones, R Lyons, D Teague, S Quigley, T Corrigan.

Subs:

R Corrigan for Corrigan (BC, 24), C Flaherty for Lyons (52), A Breen for McCusker (55), P Cadden for Teague (58).

TYRONE:

M O’Neill, A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron, B Tierney, R Brennan, HP McGeary, C Cavanagh, M Donnelly, P McNulty, R O’Neill, R Donnelly, D McCurry, S Cavanagh, C McAliskey.

Subs:

M Bradley for S Cavanagh (BC 28), T McCann for McGeary (40), N Sludden for McCurry (44), C Clarke for McNulty (54).

Referee:

A Nolan (Wicklow).

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