Ulster SFC: Tyrone defeat Fermanagh
Ulster Senior Football Championship Preliminary Round
Tyrone 2-17 Fermanagh 2-10
By Declan Bogue at Brewster Park
Tyrone produced a second half display worthy of All-Ireland champions.
However, they will be concerned about another red card after Conor McKenna was sent off following a melee two minutes into time added on.
A goal from substitute Liam Rafferty punctured the Erne challenge, but it was the man sent on at half time, Conor McKenna, who transformed the Tyrone challenge. His all-action display was capped by a beautiful point that kissed both posts on the way over.
Given no hope going into this, Fermanagh might have went in at the break 1-6 to 0-8 down, but a serious case could be made that they were marginally the better side.
By the 23rd minute they were 0-5 to 0-2 ahead through a brace of points from Ryan Lyons and Sean Quigley along with Conall Jones capping a great move.
Darragh Canavan got Tyrone off the mark and Niall Sludden added another but they required three Darren McCurry points; a free, a mark and one from play to put themselves back into it.
Fermanagh had a possible goal chance when Declan McCusker executed a brilliant tackle and then created a point for Sean Quigley.
In the next kickout, Niall Morgan found Conor Meyler. McCusker bounced off him and his exertions in the previous minute told. Meyler kept looking for an option and when none came made his way to goal. Sweeper James McMahon tried to show him on his left side to take the point but he rounded McMahon and squeezed off a shot to the net to put Tyrone back into the lead.
It was a score to add a thin coat of gloss over a ropey first half. Match-up wise, the hosts had the advantage at this stage. Richard O’Callaghan was handling Cathal McShane, ditto for Ryan Lyons on Footballer of the Year Kieran McGeary and midfield was fairly even.
But in the second half, Tyrone’s class showed as each player increased their effort and their reinforcements showed well. Two late goals for Fermanagh made the scoreline a little bit tidier.
Scorers for Tyrone: D McCurry (0-6, 2f, 2m), C McShane (0-3, 1f), L Rafferty (1-0), C Meyler (1-0), C McKenna (0-2), C Kilpatrick, B Kennedy (mark), K McGeary, N Sludden, D Canavan, M Conroy (0-1 each).
Scorers for Fermanagh: C Jones (1-1), J Largo-Ellis (1-0), S Quigley (0-3, 1f, 1x’45), R Lyons (0-3, 1f), J McMahon, D McGurn (0-1 each), G Jones (0-1f)
TYRONE: N Morgan; M McKernan, R McNamee, P Hampsey; R Brennan, F Burns, C Meyler; C Kilpatrick, B Kennedy; K McGeary, M O’Neill, N Sludden; D McCurry, C McShane, D Canavan
Subs: C McKenna for O’Neill (HT), L Rafferty for McGeary (50 mins), M Conroy for McCurry (56 mins), B McDonnell for Kennedy (61 mins), C Shields for Canavan (69 mins).
FERMANAGH: S McNally; L Flanagan, J Cassidy, A Breen; J McMahon, R O’Callaghan, D McCusker; R Jones, B Horan; R Lyons, C Jones, J Largo-Ellis; C Corrigan, D McGurn, S Quigley
Subs: O Kelm for O’Callaghan (55mins), G Jones for Corrigan, J McDade for Breen (both 56mins).
Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).