After a slow start in the sun drenched Maguiresbridge, Fermanagh hurlers produced a strong display to book their place in the Lory Meagher Final to be played in Croke Park on 9th June.
Leitrim started strong with the aid of a strong breeze with three unanswered points, Sean Corrigan opened Fermanagh’s account in the 8th minute but Leitrim responded with Clement Unniff converting his third free. As the temperatures sored so to did the pace of the game, Sean Corrigan hit the back of the net to level the game in the 12th minute but Leitrim pushed forward and top marksman Clement Unniff hit the back of the Fermangh net twice in two minutes. Fermanagh responded with three points from Corrigan, Daniel Teague and a free by Paul McGoldrick, Leitrim kept the pressure up and added two points from Unniff (free) and Semaco Moradi. With 10 minutes to go to the break Fermanagh were down by 1-4 to Leitrims 2-6, Fermanagh hit a purple patch and change the game, Declan McGarry found the back of the net an points from McGoldrick and Andrew Breslin before Corrigan hit his second goal, and closing out the half McGoldrick and Corrigan added further points to leave Fermanagh 3-9 to Leitrims 2-6 at the break.
Fermanagh remained in control in the second half as the pace of the game slowed in the heat. John Duffy hit a supper long range effort to open Fermanagh’s second half account and McGoldrick converted a free to pull Fermanagh eight clear. Unniff pulled one back for Leitrim with a free before Shea Curran and McGoldrick pointed for Femanagh. Michael Poniard got on the scoreboard with a point for Leitrim in the 50th minute, Duffy responded with his second to keep Fermanagh well a head on 3-14 to Leitrims 2-8. Credit to Leitrim the kept battling and pushing for scores but the Fermanagh defence held strong, Unniff hit three points for Leitrim, one from a free, one from a 65 and one from play. In the closing 10 minutes Corrigan and Francie McBrien hit further points for Fermanagh before Leitrim Unniff hit the last score of the game to bring his personal tally for the day to 2-9. Fermanagh winning on a final score of 3-16, Leitrim 2-12.
There were great scenes of delight from the Fermanagh team and supporters as the now play Tyrone on the final to be played in Croke Park on 6th June. Joint Fermanagh manager Seamus McCusker was delighted with the result, “We played well within ourselves but I am over the moon and so proud of the boys. I can’t believe that we will be getting to play in Croke Park, it means so much to the hurlers in Fermanagh to get this opportunity, the Queen, U2, Westlife have all been to Croke Park but it is even rarer to have Fermanagh Hurlers playing on the hallowed turf.”
Fermanagh: D.McPhilips, E.Mahon, C.McGarry, D.Teague 0-1, F.McBrien 0-1, M.Slevin, K.Kehoe, J.Duffy 0-2, 1F, R.Bogue, A.Breslin 0-1, D.McGarry 1-0, J.P.McGarry, S.Corrigan 2-4, S.Curran 0-2, P.McGoldrick 0-5, 3F. Subs: E.Morrissey for C.McGarry, C.McManus for Breslin, R.Porteous for McGoldrick, F.Bannon for D.McGarry and P.Timoney for S.Curran.
Leitrim: T.McLoughlin, S.McTiernan, V.McDermott, P.Clerkin, P.McManus, S.Feeney, K.McGrath, D.Poniard 0-1, M.Quinn, N.McLoughlin, K.Boyle, S.Moradi 0-1, M.Dolan, Clement Unniff 2-9, 6F, M.Poniard 0-1. Subs: P.Clancy for Clerkin, M.Donoghue for D.Poniard and K.Clerkin for Dolan.