Fermanagh will play Tyrone in Sunday’s McKenna Cup semi-final after a strong second-half performance saw them cruise past an experimental Donegal line-up at Brewster Park last night.
Trailing by 0-7 to 0-6 after 47 minutes, they outscored Donegal by six points to two to win by 0-12 to 0-8 in what was a decent runout for both sides.
Derry will play Cavan in the semi-finals, the Oak Leafers defeating Queen’s by 0-17 to 2-8 at Celtic Park. Cavan drew 0-14 each with Monaghan to book their place in the knockout stages.
Elsewhere, Tyrone defender Ronan McNamee’s late point for UUJ saw the students record a 2-7 to 1-9 win over Armagh in the Athletic Grounds. Eamonn Burns got his first victory as Down manager, two Packie Downey goals helping them to a 3-20 to 2-14 win over St Mary’s in Newry.
Fermanagh and Donegal were level four times in a pretty competitive first half. Odhran MacNiallais was the most impressive player on the pitch in the opening half, kicking three first-half points including points from play off either foot.
Eoin Donnelly fisted over the opening point in the third minute but Donegal responded through MacNiallais and Ciaran Thompson. Fermanagh replied with a snapshot point from Ciaran Flaherty and a superbly converted 30m sideline kick by Sean Quigley.
Michael Murphy struggled with his range from dead balls in the first half, kicking one free wide while another dropped well short. However Donegal hit three points in a row, two from MacNiallais including a 35m left-footed free, and a well-worked point on the break from Marty O’Reilly to put the visitors 0-5 to 0-3 ahead.
Yet again Fermanagh responded, with Declan McCusker and Quigley (free) drawing them level at 0-5 apiece by the interval. Fermanagh would have been fairly happy to have held Michael Murphy scoreless in the opening half, but he broke his duck in the 41st minute with a close-range free.
Tomas Corrigan had been in great scoring form in Fermanagh’s opening two wins over St Mary’s and Down, but struggled to make an impact last night and was hauled ashore with over 20 minutes remaining. His full-forward partner Sean Quigley got into a great rhythm with his dead ball striking and nailed a 45m effort to put the home side 0-9 to 0-7 ahead after 52 minutes – the first time they had led by two points.
Although MacNiallais narrowed the deficit with a left-footed free, Fermanagh sub Pat Cadden got on the end of a well-worked move to restore their two point cushion with just over 10 minutes to go. Cadden scored again from play, with Quigley nailing another long-range free to put Fermanagh through to the next round.
Scorers for Fermanagh:
S Quigley 0-5 (4f), E Donnelly 0-2, P Cadden 0-2, D McCusker 0-1, J McMahon 0-1, C Flaherty 0-1
Scorers for Donegal:
O MacNiallais 0-4 (2f), M Murphy 0-1 (f), C Thompson 0-1, M O’Reilly 0-1, C Gillespie 0-1.
C Snow; M Jones, A Breen, P McGovern; D McCusker, J McMahon, D Kelly; E Donnelly, C Jones; B Mulrone, C Flaherty, P McCusker; R Hanna, S Quigley, T Corrigan.
N Cassidy for Kelly (HT), D Teague for Corrigan (48), P Cadden for Hanna (53), E McManus for C Jones (61), K Connor for D McCusker (68)
P Boyle; P McGrath, N McGee, E Doherty; E Gallagher, C Ward, M O’Reilly; C McGonagle, H McFadden; S McBrearty, L McLoone, C Thompson; O MacNiallais, M Murphy, E McHugh
F McGlynn for McBrearty (25), M McElhinney for McLoone (HT), C Gillespie for C Thompson (HT), A Thompson for McElhinney (BC, 46), M Carroll for McFadden (57), C Thompson for Ward (61)
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