Fermanagh 1-12 Antrim 0-9: The first championship game of summer is not the worst time of year to win ugly and, after toiling to an unconvincing preliminary round win over Antrim yesterday, Fermanagh will feel the only way is up.

">

Fermanagh survive ‘power cut’ to win ugly against Antrim

Fermanagh 1-12 Antrim 0-9: The first championship game of summer is not the worst time of year to win ugly and, after toiling to an unconvincing preliminary round win over Antrim yesterday, Fermanagh will feel the only way is up.

Fermanagh survive ‘power cut’ to win ugly against Antrim

“We had a major power cut” was how Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath described the alarming drop-off in his team’s performance levels in the second-half, having coasted into a 0-9 to 0-2 lead at the break largely due to the score-taking brilliance of Tomas Corrigan.

Thoughts in the dressing-room at half time must have already been turning to a first round meeting with Donegal on June 12, because they played the second-half as though the game was already done.

A combination of Fermanagh complacency and Antrim finally pushing up and having a go meant there was a small danger of a contest breaking out in the final quarter.

The saffrons, who’d beaten Fermanagh in the first round in 2014 before losing both championship meetings with them last year, scored five unanswered points in 12 minutes to close to within three points after 64 minutes.

Suddenly, we had a game on our hands. But, just as quickly, it was snuffed out when Corrigan nailed a free, his ninth point of the afternoon in Brewster Park, before Sean Quigley’s composed finish grabbed a late clinching goal for the Erne men.

Midfielder Niall McKeever was a late withdrawal with a hamstring injury but Antrim were still expected to put up a strong challenge with quality players like Kevin Niblock, Brian ‘Bam’ Neeson, Tomás and Michael McCann all back in the team after taking a year out.

They lacked ambition in the opening half, dropping far too many bodies back, and leaving Neeson starved of possession.

By the time they made a few switches and pushed up, it was too little too late.

They could not penetrate Fermanagh’s well-drilled defensive screen for most of the game with Tomas Corrigan’s 0-9 the obvious highlight of an otherwise forgettable afternoon.

He kicked not one, but two, sideline points from a ridiculously tight angle, from well within the 14m line on the stand side.

His first effort in the 29th minute drew a few gasps, but the crowd of 9,124 were left pretty stunned when he executed the skill a second time from almost the exact same position a minute later.

Fermanagh played the first half completely on their own terms.

Attacking wing-back Declan McCusker burst forward to score from close range, Aidan Breen floated a lovely point over from long-range and Corrigan nailed three early frees to lift his confidence before he came up with the sideline heroics.

Fermanagh led by 0-6 to 0-0 when Antrim’s key men combined to set up a goal chance for Bam Neeson.

Niblock took a superb catch and passed to Michael McCann whose precision pass found Neeson inside. He fired a left-footed shot towards the corner but Chris Snow brilliantly tipped the ball around his left post.

Neeson converted the ‘45’ to get Antrim on the board in the 23rd minute but Fermanagh responded with Sean Quigley’s 55m free, his only point of the day.

Trailing by seven at the break, Antrim needed to come out swinging but instead, there was no score of any kind for 12 tedious minutes at the start of the second-half until Tomás McCann scored Antrim’s first point from play.

On-fire Corrigan responded immediately with a point from a tight angle and tagged on another free to stretch the home side’s lead to 0-11 to 0-03 with 51 minutes gone.

Antrim made a few switches and had their best spell of the game in the last quarter, subs Ryan Murray and Sean Burke among the scorers as they hit a purple patch late on.

Having worked so hard to close the gap to three points however, a lazy tackle by Sean McVeigh on Eoin Donnelly allowed Corrigan to score Fermanagh’s first point in 15 minutes.Sean Quigley settled Fermanagh’s nerves with a 69th minute goal.

McCusker brothers Declan and Paul combined with Ciarán Flaherty and Tomas Corrigan to tee him up, and his cool low finish across goal ensured Fermanagh will be heading to Ballybofey in four weeks time.

Scorers for Fermanagh:

T Corrigan 0-9 (5f), S Quigley 1-01 (f), D McCusker, A Breen 0-1 each.

Scorers for Antrim:

T McCann 0-3 (1f), B Neeson 0-2 (1f), M Sweeney, J Carron, R Murray, S Burke 0-1 each.

FERMANAGH:

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

Subs:

C Flaherty for Lyons (46), D Teague for R Corrigan (56), D Kelly for Breen (67), P Cadden for P McCusker (70).

ANTRIM:

C Kerr; K O’Boyle; R Johnston, N Delargy; P McBride, M Johnston, J Laverty; J Carron, M McCann; M Fitzpatrick, K Niblock, M Sweeney; B Neeson, C Murray, T McCann.

Subs:

S McVeigh for Murray (HT), D McAleese for Laverty (47), R Murray for Fitzpatrick (56), S Burke for Neeson (59)

Referee:

Sean Hurson (Tyrone)

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.