Purposeful Fermanagh shake off dogged Sligo

Fermanagh moved up to second place in the Division Three standings — just behind leaders Armagh on score difference — followed their win over a dogged Sligo (0-13 to 0-8) at Markievicz Park.

Purposeful Fermanagh shake off dogged Sligo

In a game spoiled by difficult underfoot conditions — this pitch was deemed unplayable a week previously when the sides were originally scheduled to meet — Rory Gallagher’s charges did enough to secure a third successive win in this spring’s campaign.

Although stunned by the home side’s quickfire start — Sligo led 0-3 to 0-0 by the third minute — Fermanagh eventually found their feet and five points without reply saw them lead 0-5 to 0-3 after 25 minutes.

Full-forward Conall Jones hit a brace during that dominant spell and the Ulster side could have had a goal but wing-back Declan McCusker’s goalbound effort was deflected over for a point by Eddie McGuinness.

Niall Murphy’s fine point was Sligo’s first score in 24 minutes but the visitors regained control and three further scores, including excellent points from impressive wing-back Barry Mulrone and Paul McCusker, saw Fermanagh lead 0-8 to 0-4 at half-time.

The second half saw a continuation of the game’s pattern — Fermanagh better with possession and Sligo unable to unlock their opponent’s defensive shape.

But Fermanagh couldn’t kill off their hosts — they had 13 wides in total — and wayward finishing allowed Sligo to work their way back into proceedings.

Stephen Coen’s score after 41 minutes closed the gap to three, 0-9 to 0-6, and two minutes into added time a good point by Adrian Marren brought the hosts to within an equalising goal of their opponents, who led 0-11 to 0-8.

Substitute Sean Quigley, who was denied a goal by Aidan Devaney, and Aidan Breen kicked insurance points for Fermanagh.

Sligo finished with 13 players due to late red cards for Cian Breheny, who received two bookings, and Neil Ewing, who got a black card after earlier being shown a yellow.

Allianz Football League Division Three: Sligo 0-8, Fermanagh 0-13

Scorers for Sligo: S Coen (0-2, 1f), A Marren (0-1), N Murphy (0-1), N Ewing (0-1), A McIntyre (0-1), P Hughes, L Gaughan (0-1, 1f)

Scorers for Fermanagh: S Quigley (0-3, 2f), D McCusker (0-3), B Mulrone (0-2), C Jones (0-2), P McCusker (0-1), A Breen (0-1), S Quigley (0-1).

SLIGO: A Devaney, R Donovan, L Nicholson, E McGuinness, E McHugh, N Ewing, D Cummins, P O’Connor, A McIntyre, F Cawley, N Murphy, S Carrabine, S Coen, P Hughes, A Marren.

Subs: C Harrison for N Ewing, (8) (‘blood sub’); C Breheny for F Cawley, (h-t); K McDonnell for S Carrabine, (47); C Harrison for E McHugh, (51); L Gaughan for P Hughes, (52); K Cawley for S Coen, (54); J Clarke for A McIntyre, (66).

FERMANAGH: P Cadden, M Jones, C Cullen, C McManus, B Mulrone, L Cullen, D McCusker, E Donnelly, R Jones, P McCusker, C Corrigan, A Breen, D Teague, C Jones, S Quigley.

Subs: R Corrigan for P McCusker, (44); E Maguire for D Teague, (50); R Lyons for C Corrigan (59), K Connor for C McManus, (65); Sean Quigley for Seamus Quigley, (68); E Courtney for E Donnelly, (70+7).

Referee: John Hickey (Carlow).

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