Tyrone 1-13, Fermanagh 0-9. Two pivotal second-half moments went a long way towards deciding the outcome of yesterday’s Dr McKenna Cup semi-final at Clones.
First, Fermanagh lost their star player, midfielder and captain Eoin Donnelly, to a second yellow card, then Connor McAliskey smashed home the only goal of the game to end early expectations that a shock could be on the cards.
The Erne men dominated the opening 20 minutes, but the holders grew stronger as the game progressed, and introduced the big guns to close the game out in the second half.
Sean Quigley fired over three points in the opening five minutes, two of them from frees, as Fermanagh set about taking the game to their opponents.
Donnelly’s towering influence kept them on the attack, before the Red Hands finally got off the mark with a Mark Bradley free in the 16th minute.
By this time, Rory Brennan was providing extra protection for rookie full back Padraig Hampsey in his tussle with Quigley.
The holders drew level with a Connor McAliskey free, and Fermanagh went 25 minutes without a score, until Ciaran Flaherty edged them back in front, but Bradley’s second free made it 0-4 each at the break.
Mickey Harte sent for the cavalry art half-time, introducing Sean Cavanagh, Mattie Donnelly and Ronan McNamee, and they went ahead for the first time with a McAliskey free.
Fermanagh lost the inspirational Donnelly to a second yellow card on 42 minutes, and their challenge faded, with Tyrone piling on the scores, Cavanagh, Darren McCurry, Richie Donnelly and Ronan O’Neill all hit stylish scores, and in the 51st minute, the outcome was settled by the only goal.
Goalkeeper Chris Snow parried Cavanagh’s cross, and McAliskey volleyed to the net.
Colm Cavanagh stepped up his output as the Red Hands closed out the game, while Fermanagh scores from Quigley, Conall Jones and Eoin McManus made little difference.
Tyrone also finished with 14 men after defender Rory Brennan received straight red card two minutes from the end.
Scorers for Tyrone:
C McAliskey 1-3 (0-2f, 0-1 ’45), M Bradley 0-3 (3f), D McCurry, R O’Neill (1f) 0-2 each, K McGeary, S Cavanagh, R Donnelly 0-1 each.
Scorers for Fermanagh:
S Quigley 0-6 (4f, 1 ’45), E McManus, C Jones, C Flaherty 0-1 each.
M O’Neill, J Munroe, P Hampsey, C McCarron, N Sludden, R Brennan, K McGeary, R Donnelly, C Cavanagh, D Mulgrew, C McCann, C Meyler, D McCurry, C McAliskey, M Bradley.
S Cavanagh for Mulgrew (h-t), M Donnelly for McCann (h-t), R McNamee for Munroe (h-t), C Clarke for Meyler (42), B Tierney for McGeary (49), R O’Neill for McAliskey (54).
C Snow, M Jones, A Breen, P McGovern, D McCusker, J McMahon, C Cullen, C Jones, E Donnelly, B Mulrone, C Flaherty, P McCusker, R Corrigan, S Quigley, T Corrigan.
N Cassidy for R Corrigan (52), P Cadden for McGovern (54), E McManus for Mulrone (52), D Teague for T Corrigan (52), R Hanna for McCusker (65).
R Barry (Down).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved