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Fermanagh win sets up Ulster Minor Shield semi-final against Cavan

April 17th, 2014

Coming into the game both sides had the dismal record of having played three and lost three so it was a winner takes all type of game which Fermanagh were to boss for large periods.

The home side started the brighter and a terrific Patrick Hyde score was soon followed up by a Shane Rooney free to give the erne men a 0-02 to 0-00 lead after six minutes.

Derry were then to see themselves kick five wides in a row before eventually Shea Murphy was to lob over a point to put the minimum between the sides. Derry’s midfield duo of Mark Devlin and Michael McLaughlin were slowly gaining more possession in the middle of the park and a towering run by Loup’s Devlin saw him deliver a perfect pass to full forward Rory McElwee who brought the sides level after 18 minutes in the Irvinestown sunshine.

Derry’s pace in the full forward line was evident and corner forward Dee Curran raced a full 30 yards with the ball before driving a low powerful shot away from the grasping Conor Copeland for the game’s only goal to push the Oak Leafers 1-02 to 0-02 ahead.

Fermanagh though were not to panic, the full back line of Gareth Fox, Thomas McHugh and Enda Cassidy were slowly winning their own battles and in doing so Fermanagh pressed for further points from Matthew McGrade and the lively JJ O’Brien delivering two excellent long range scores to make the sides all level at half time 0-05 to 1-2.

Devenish’s JJ OBrien was now proving to be a real handful and he was to fire over another beauty of a score from some 35 yards out to push the Ernemen into the lead, a lead which they would never surrender.

Conor McAuley and Shane Mimna were now getting on top around the middle and Rory McCaffrey was causing havoc with his thunderous runs from wing half back, a run from McCaffrey was to see him lay it on a plate for the energetic Liam Magurie as the Ederney man made it 0-07 to 1-02 after 38 minutes.

Maguire was once again the scorer of Fermanagh’s eighth point as he cut inside from a smart pass from Matthew McGrade and all of a sudden Fermanagh were playing all the football and led by three.

Fermanagh though were then dealt a major blow with the loss of influential captain Shane Mimna with a knock and right from that Derry’s Shea Murphy was to see his goal shot terrifically pushed over the bar by Lisnaskea goalkeeper Colin Copeland.

Matthew McGrade replied with a free before Derry had their own free pointed by full forward Rory McElwee to make it 0-09 to 1-04 with 13 minutes remaining. Connor McAuley then made a driving run from the middle and was brought down, from the resulting free McGrade again restored the Fermanagh lead to three but once more McElwee was accurate once more to make it 0-10 to 1-05.

Derry’s McElwee then pointed from play to leave the minimum between the sides with just six minutes remaining, but Fermanagh had three major chances for points in the closing minutes but seen all their chances go wide. However, substitute Duirmuid Russell came on to steady the ship in defence and made a brilliant block in which the ball was then worked up the field through Rory McCaffrey, the excellent Oran Magee, Jason Flanagan, JJ O’Brien to Ryan Kelly and he delightfully chipped over the bar to give Fermanagh a more than deserving 0-11 to 1-06 success. Niall Jackman will be delighted with the extra game this Saturday but on the other hand will know there is plenty of work to be done before Antrim come to Enniskillen in 45 days time.

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