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Lory Meagher Cup Final: Keenan stars for Fermanagh

Tom Keenan, Fermanagh, and Cillian Sheanon, Cavan, in action during the Lory Meagher Cup Final at Croke Park.

Tom Keenan, Fermanagh, and Cillian Sheanon, Cavan, in action during the Lory Meagher Cup Final at Croke Park.

Lory Meagher Cup Final


By Paul Fitzpatrick at Croke Park

A hat-trick for corner-forward Tom Keenan was the highlight as Fermanagh romped to an easy win over Cavan in the Lory Meagher Cup final.

The Erne men were slow to their stride but once they hit form, they were excellent and were fully deserving winners against a side who had beaten them in the first round.

Cavan started well and were 0-5 to 0-2 ahead after nine minutes but Fermanagh gradually took charge as the first half progressed.

Speedster Keenan opened the scoring 40 seconds in and although Cavan competed well in the first half, with scores from brothers Cillian and Colum Sheanon and corner-back Neasan Neary helping them to a 0-6 to 0-3 lead, Fermanagh turned the screw and got better as the contest progressed.

Keenan bagged his first major just before half-time, punishing a mistake in the Cavan defence, but Cavan came back with a flicked goal of their own from Philip Brady. At half-time, Fermanagh were 1-12 to 1-8 up and they totally dominated the second half, Keenan hitting the net straight from the throw-in.

As the half wore on, they piled on the misery with a succession of high-quality points from the likes of Sean Corrigan, Barney McAuley and free-taker John Duffy, with Keenan completing his hat-trick and ending the match as a contest with 20 minutes left.

Fermanagh opened the scoring with a point from Keenan after 40 seconds but the Breffni men soon cancelled this out with a huge score from corner-back Neasan Neary and, moments later, they were in front when Brian Fitzgerald also split the posts from distance.

These sides had drawn twice in their last four meetings, with the other two games also very close, so it was no surprise that the sides cancelled each other out for long spells in the opening stanza.

The Erne men levelled with a John Duffy free but Cavan replied with a well-worked move, Enda Shalvey teeing Cillian Sheanon up for the finish off his left.

The Cuala man then hit another and a free from his clubmate Fitzgerald, after a foul on Philip Brady, extended Cavan’s lead to three. But that was as good as it got for Ollie Bellew’s charges as Fermanagh upped the ante.

A Caolán Duffy point, after Cavan failed to clear their lines, got the scoreboard ticking over again for Fermanagh and although Colum Sheanon hit back, a John Duffy free and a superb effort from midfielder Daniel Teague cut the gap to the minimum.

The wides were racking up for both teams – Cavan had five in the first half to Fermanagh’s seven – but Fermanagh were beginning to gobble up the breaks around the middle, hunting in packs and forcing turnovers. Centre-back Barney McAuley tied the game with a long-range free; although Anthony Sheridan nudged Cavan in front with a well-taken score, Fermanagh replied 20 seconds later when Conor McShea split the posts and further white flags from Mark Slevin and a John Duffy free made it 0-9 to 0-7.

Fermanagh then struck for their first goal in the run-in to half-time when a mistake in the Cavan defence was punished by the ever-dangerous Keenan, who rifled to the net at the second time of asking.

John Duffy (free) and Cillian Sheanon then traded scores before Sean Corrigan sent over a stylish effort.

Cavan needed a big response and they got it when a high ball from Enda Shalvey was flicked to the net by Philip Brady but a terrific point from John Duffy saw Joe Baldwin’s charges go in 1-12 to 1-8 ahead.

The second half was one-sided as Fermanagh found top gear and turned in a hugely-impressive performance. From the throw-in, John Duffy found speedster Keenan and he buried the sliotar to the net. Fitzgerald responded with a free but quality efforts from Francis McBrien and Ryan Bogue and a brilliant score from centre-forward Corrigan made it an eight-point game, with Fitzgerald registering in between.

Fermanagh were full of confidence in the closing stages, exhibiting excellent stickwork as they fired over 1-8 in the final quarter to round off the win, with man of the match Keenan having completed his hat-trick with 20 minutes left.

Fermanagh, who beat Longford in the semi-final, had 11 scorers in total in what was a superb all-round team performance. For Cavan, a first championship match at HQ in over a century just proved to be a bridge too far.

Scorers for Fermanagh: Tom Keenan 3-2, John Duffy 0-8 (7f), Conor McShea 0-4, Sean Corrigan 0-4, Barney McAuley 0-2 (2f), Ryan Bogue 0-1, Daniel Teague 0-1, Caolan Duffy 0-1, Mark Slevin 0-1, Andrew Breslin 0-1

Scorers for Cavan: Brian Fitzgerald 0-9 (6f, two 65s), Cillian Sheanon 0-3, Philip Brady 1-0, Neasan Neary 0-1, Sean Keating 0-1, Colum Sheanon 0-1, Caoimhin Carney 0-1

Cavan: Darren Sheridan, Neasan Neary, Dominic Crudden, Shane Briody, Jack Barry, Anthony Sheridan, Matthew Hynes, Enda Shalvey, Mark Moffett, Diarmaid Carney, Colum Sheanon, Brian Fitzgerald, Cillian Sheanon, Sean Keating, Philip Brady
Subs: Caoimhin Carney for Moffett (temp, 30 mins, reversed ht), Carney for Shalvey (ht), Bart Nannery for Neary (47), Kevin Conneely for D Carney (55), Eugene Hill for Moffett (66)

Fermanagh: Mark Curry, Luca McCusker, Rory Porteous, Aidan Flanagan, Ryan Bogue, Barney McAuley, Francis McBrien, Daniel Teague, Conor McShea, Kevin McGarry, Sean Corrigan, John Duffy, Caolán Duffy, Mark Slevin, Tom Keenan

Subs: John Paul McGarry for Kevin McGarry (13 mins), Dylan Bannon for Slevin (45), Thomas Cleary for JP McGarry (50), Jimmy Tormey for C Duffy (55), Andrew Breslin for Keenan (67).

Referee: Michael Kennedy.