Fermanagh 0-11; Donegal 0-09;
Fermanagh produced a superb second half performance as they opened up their Ulster Minor League campaign with a 0-11 to 0-09 victory over Donegal at Brewster Park on Tuesday night.
If ever there was a game of two halves then this was it as anything other than a Donegal victory was unimaginable at the interval such was the control of the contest the visitors had.
Leading 0-08 to 0-01 at the break, Donegal were dominant but that was to change in the second half as Fermanagh took a grip on proceedings around the middle third while they finally began to pick holes in a well organised Donegal defensive set up.
With five minutes to go Fermanagh were on level terms and although Donegal edged back in front with their only point of the half, Fermanagh were not to be denied as three late points gave them a deserved victory.
It was Donegal though who were the brighter side in the first half as they bossed things all over the pitch. Midfielder Conor Harkin fired over two points from play while James Brennan raced through for another as the Tir Connail men claimed a three point advantage after eight minutes.
Fermanagh, who were without Ciaran Corrigan, James Allen and Eoin McManus, did hit back with a good effort from Kevin Curran but this was to be their only score of the half. Fermanagh were guilty of playing aimless balls into an isolated attack and this was easily dealt with by a crowded Donegal defence who then broke forward with pace and purpose.
Brennan was to knock over another two points while Daire McDaid landed a free as Donegal pushed into a five point advantage. And they were to increase that further as Darragh O’Connor tapped over two close in frees although Fermanagh did have a half chance of a goal right at the end of the half but Conor Durnien was unable to direct his punched effort into the net.
The second half though was to see a complete turnaround as Fermanagh raised their game significantly to get on top.
Colin Logan was immense at midfield as Simon Bradley’s side took control in that sector while Paul Coulter rattled over three wonderful points as he pushed forward from his half back berth.
Donegal were afforded much less space and time on the ball and Fermanagh got off to a good start to the half as Cain McManus rattled over a well taken point before Kevin Curran tagged on a fine long range point from a free.
It was all Fermanagh at this tage and Coulter notched his first of the day before Paul Ward claimed a high ball and turned and slotted over to reduce the deficit to three.
Fermanagh’s confidence was building and with Conor Durnien, Curran and Coulter banging over points it brought the sides level with five to go.
Donegal had struggled to get out of their own defence in the second period but substitute Lorcan Connor landed a terrific point to nudge them back ahead although Fermanagh responded instantly to this as Garbhan McManus fired over.
The away side went close snatching victory as a surging run from Cain Mulligan resulted him his rasping shot hitting the post and from this Fermanagh took the lead for the first time as Ward fisted over before Coulter drilled over the insurance point three minutes into added on time to secure the win.
D. Ray; C. McManus, S. O’Hara, S. Mimna; P. Coulter (0-03), J. McCann, P. Reihill; C. Logan, D. McCarville; D. Teague, D. Leonard, P. Ward (0-02); C. Durnien (0-01), S. Keenan, K. Curran (0-03, 1f).
Subs – C. Copeland for Ray, C. McAuley (0-01) for Keenan, G. Fox for Reihill, G. McManus (0-01) for Teague.
D. Tyrell; J. Scally, J. O’Brien, L. O’Brien; C. Mulligan, C. O’Donnell, A. Sweeney; C. Harkin (0-02), P. McLaughlin; J. Brennan (0-03), C. McEniff, P. Gillespie; C. McCormick, D. McDaid (0-01, 1f), D. O’Connor (0-02, 2f).
Subs – L. Connor for O’Connor, C. Kelly for McEniff, E. Gallagher for McDaid