Down's challenge falters at end

Fermanagh 0-13 Down 0-10

Fermanagh 0-13 Down 0-10

Fermanagh sent Down crashing out of the Ulster SFC at Brewster Park, displaying courage and desire on their way to a deserved three points win.

Down’s challenge collapsed in the final half hour, during which they scored just one point.

Four converted frees from Ryan Carson saw the Erne men come from behind to get the better of Ross Carr’s side in a disappointing preliminary round tie in front of around 9,000 supporters.

Wing back Tommy McElroy and midfielder James Sherry got Fermanagh off to a positive start with long range points, but the Mourne men were ahead by the 11th minute, when Aidan Carr converted two frees and Benny Coulter landed a point from play.

Mark Little edged Fermanagh back in front, before Paul McCumiskey restored Down’s advantage.

Down came close to getting what would have been a fortuitous goal when Stephen Kearney, Peter Fitzpatrick and Ronan Murtagh combined, and goalkeeper Chris Breen had to be alert to keep out Declan Rooney’s dipping shot.

The home side countered immediately to go back in front through Ryan Carson, but in stoppage time, Stephen Kearney brought the sides level for the sixth time, turning around at 0-7 each.

A renewed flourish in the early stages of the second half saw Down open up a two points lead with the help of a Benny Coulter special, curled beautifully between the posts from way out left.

But solid defending from Shane Lyons and Shane McDermott helped Fermanagh survive a difficult period, and two frees from Ryan Carson had them level before the excellent Ciaran McElroy shot them back in front.

Carson tapped over another couple of frees, and there was little resistance from Down, even less sign of a revival that would rescue their title bid.

And they limped out of the Ulster Championship with just 14 men on the field, Aidan Carr sent off on a straight red card in stoppage time.

Fermanagh: C Breen, N Bogue, S Lyons, H Brady, R McCluskey, S McDermott, T McElroy (0-1), M McGrath (0-1), J Sherry (0-2), R Keenan, C McElroy (0-1), M Little (0-1), D Keenan (0-1), R Carson (0-6, 5 frees), E Maguire.

Subs: P Sherry for McCluskey (h-t), S O’Brien for Little (56), R Foy for C McElroy (71)

Down: B McVeigh, L Howard, P Turley, D Rafferty, K Duffin, C Garvey, D Rooney, D Gordon, P Fitzpatrick (0-1), A Carr (0-2, 2 frees), B Coulter (0-2), S Kearney (0-1), D Hughes (0-2), R Murtagh, P McCumiskey (0-2, 1 free).

Subs: J O’Reilly for Murtagh (52), J Boyle for Kearney (60), C Maginn for Fitzpatrick (67)

Referee: J Bannon (Longford)

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