Allianz FL D2: Clare edge out Fermanagh
Allianz Football League Division Two
CLARE 1-11 FERMANAGH 1-9
By Derrick Lynch at Cusack Park
A difficult week for Fermanagh ended with relegation to Division Three of the Allianz League as a more clinical Clare picked up two vital points.
It might have been seven months since the last game, but Joe McGann continued his goalscoring heroics with an outstanding individual effort which proved a match winning score.
Fermanagh were left to rue three golden goal chances themselves with two of those coming in the final quarter when a combination of Eamon Tubridy and the Cusack Park woodwork denied the Ernemen crucial scores.
A late penalty for the Ulster men ensured a nervy closing few minutes but Clare held firm to collect two more crucial points in a packed Division Two table.
McGann's goal helped the home side in Cusack Park to lead 1-6 to 0-6 at the break, as the St Breckan's man fired to the roof of the net after racing along the endline. Both sides left goal chances behind in that opening period, with Jamie Malone and Conall Jones seeing their efforts flash wide of the upright.
Tomás Corrgian was the main scoring outlet for Fermanagh in the first half with 0-4 from the lively full forward, but Clare's greater scoring spread was evident as captain Eoin Cleary (2), Keelan Sexton (2), Jamie Malone and Cathal O'Connor all splitting the posts.
The returning Malone added two more in the second period at crucial moments, with Clare building a five point lead with less than 10 minutes to play. Fermanagh were twice denied goals in the last quarter, but did eventually find the net when Eddie Courtney slotted home a late penalty to leave two between them deep in injury time.
It would prove too little too late though as the Banner held on to record a merited win which sees them still in with a chance of promotion on the final day.
The return of Gary Brennan and Podge Collins from the bench was a major bonus for Colm Collins while veterans like David Tubridy, Sean Collins and Kevin Harnett were also introduced in the closing stages to close out the win.
Scorers for Clare: Eoin Cleary 0-4 (1f, 1 “45), Jamie Malone 0-3, Joe McGann 1-0, Keelan Sexton 0-2 (1f, 1 “45), Cian O'Dea and Cathal O'Connor 0-1 each.
Scorers for Fermanagh: Tomás Corrgian 0-5 (2fs, 1m), Eddie Courtney 1-0 (1-0 pen), Paul McCusker, Ciaran Corrigan, Declan McCusker and Daragh McGurn 0-1 each.
CLARE: Eamon Tubridy; Gordon Kelly, Cillian Brennan, Eoghan Collins; Pearse Lillis, Aaron Fitzgerald, Alan Sweeney; Cathal O'Connor, Ciaran Russell; Emmet McMahon, Eoin Cleary, Jamie Malone; Keelan Sexton, Joe McGann, Cian O'Dea.
Subs: Gary Brennan for McMahon (40), Podge Collins for Sweeney (55), David Tubridy for McGann (65), Sean Collins for E Collins (68), Kevin Hartnett for Fitzgerald (68).
FERMANAGH: Sean McNally; Paul McCusker, Richard O'Callaghan, Luke Flanagan; Cain McManus, James McMahon, Kane Connor; Eoin Donnelly, Ryan Jones; Ciaran Corrigan, Conall Jones, Josh Largo Ellis; Stephen McGullion, Tomás Corrigan, Declan McCusker.
Subs: Daragh McGurn for McCusker (46), Jonny Cassidy for C Jones (46), Lorcan McStravich for O'Callaghan (55), Eddie Courtney (1-0, 1-0 pen) for T Corrigan (55), Daire O'Cathlin for McGullion (71).
REFEREE: James Bermingham (Cork).