Fermanagh 2-7 Tyrone 1-11
Tyrone had to play the entire second half with 14 men, but hung on in gripping fashion for a slender win in the preliminary round of the new-look Ulster SHC at Lisnaskea.
There was just a point between the sides at the finish, after a late Sean Corrigan goal brought Fermanagh’s challenge back from the brink, but the Red Hands, thanks to some wonderful long-range striking from midfielder Conor Gallagher held out for a first round meeting with London next weekend.
For Fermanagh, the new-look Ulster Senior Championship, with all nine counties in the province competing for the first time, has ended early, and their focus will now turn to the Nicky Rackard Cup.
Tyrone got off to the perfect start when John Kerr collected Paddy Devine’s pass to drill home a goal, and a Peadar McMahon point put them four clear.
Fermanagh got their first score in the 11th minute when Sean Corrigan crossed from the left for Andrew Breslin to finish from close range at the far post, and they missed an opportunity to go in front when Karl Kehoe had a penalty saved by goalkeeper Niall Gallagher.
A couple of Ryan Bogue frees had the sides level midway through the first half, but David Lavery restored the visitors’ two points cushion with two similar efforts.
Centre back Jason McManus powered over a long range free to bring the sides level again, and while McMahon edged the Red Hands back in front, they went in at the break a man short, after defender Leigh Moore had picked up a second booking.
Tyrone led by 1-5 to 1-4 at that stage, and stretched the advantage to three early in the second half when Devine and Gallagher hit the target.
From then onwards, it was a shooting contest between free-takers Gallagher and Bogue, and when David Lavery floated over a neat score from play a minute from the end, Tyrone led by four.
But as the game slipped into stoppage time, Sean Corrigan fired home a goal to set up a heart-stopping finish.
The Red Hands held on, however, and will play London at home next Sunday.
Fermanagh: P McEvoy, M Beggan, D McGarry, M Gunn, D Slevin, J McManus (0-2, 2 frees), F McBrien, B Smith, M Slevin, A Breslin (1-0), K Kehoe, R Bogue (0-5, 5 frees), O McShea, F Hoeritzauer, S Corrigan (1-0).
Subs: J Duffy for D Slevin, D Curran for Hoeritzauer, F Bannon for Breslin.
Tyrone: N Gallagher, SP Begley, M Winters, M McElroy, S McKiver, S Donnelly, L Moore, N Hurson, C Gallagher (0-4, 4 frees), D Lavery (0-3, 2 frees), P McMahon (0-2), C McHugh, J Devlin, J Kerr, P Devine (0-2).
Subs: M Grogan for Kerr, J Connolly for McKiver, N McDermott for McHugh, S O’Hagan for Devlin.