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Conall Jones impressed for Fermanagh against Roscommon at Brewster Park.
Conall Jones impressed for Fermanagh against Roscommon at Brewster Park.

Allianz FL D2: Fermanagh stage dramatic comeback

Allianz Football League Division


By Kevin Egan at Brewster Park

It was 2015 all over again in Brewster Park this afternoon as Fermanagh came from six points down to snatch a memorable victory at Roscommon’s expense, Ciarán Corrigan firing over the winner for Ryan McMenamin’s side in the third minute of stoppage time.

Five years ago these two sides met in a qualifier tie where Fermanagh fired seven points in a row to record a 1-14 to 0-16 victory. Here too they mounted a serious late surge that overpowered the visitors. Eoin Donnelly took control of matters at midfield, securing a number of crucial catches and driving forward to great effect, but the real source of their comeback was in the back division, where they turned over Roscommon time and again.

Roscommon’s starting forward line kicked a mere three points from play between them over the course of the tie, and in truth the Connacht champions were only in contention in those latter stages because of a far more efficient and controlled showing in the first half. Without ever hitting the heights that saw them compete well against top tier sides in league and championship in recent years, they ran at the Fermanagh defence and earned a series of frees, while Brian Stack and Niall Kilroy kicked some superb points from play to help them take control of the tie early on, moving 0-5 to 0-0 in front.

21 minutes had expired when Eoin Donnelly drove at the Roscommon back line from the left corner and kicked a good point on the run, and the gap was cut to just two points when Aidan Breen and Ciarán Corrigan followed up with scores.

Roscommon hit another purple patch in the run to half time however, with a stunning Donie Smith pass and neat finish from Kilroy the highlight as they moved 0-9 to 0-3 clear.

The Erne men were transformed after the interval. Conall Jones led the line superbly while the team’s footsoldiers in the middle third exerted huge pressure on Colm Lavin’s kickouts. Donnelly’s influence grew and grew, the vast majority of breaking ball got hoovered up by men in green jerseys and from the moment Hubert Darcy kicked Roscommon 0-10 to 0-5 ahead in the fifth minute of the half, highlights were few and far between for the visitors.

Declan McCusker and Daniel Teague added energy and vim off the bench, but there seemed to be a collective realisation across the Fermanagh team as the half went on that if they protected possession and executed simple passes and runs with accuracy, Roscommon simply didn’t have the tools or the blunt force to generate a turnover.

Slow, patient attacking moves led to some good scores from Conall Jones, and the temperature in the venue picked up a notch when he kicked them in front for the first time after 62 minutes.

Finbar Cregg from play and Cian McKeon (a free) edged the Rossies back in front but they couldn’t hold onto possession to try and take the heat out of the game and it fell to Ryan Jones to tie things up going into stoppage time.

With huge momentum now behind them, Fermanagh knew that both league points were there for the taking and so it proved, with Corrigan splitting the posts to secure the win on their last attack of the game.

Scorers for Fermanagh: Conall Jones 0-6 (3fs), Eoin Donnelly and Ciarán Corrigan 0-2 each, Aidan Breen, Ultan Kelm and Ryan Jones 0-1 each.

Scorers for Roscommon: Cian McKeon 0-4 (4fs), Donie Smith (2fs) and Niall Kilroy 0-2 each, Brian Stack, Evan McGrath, Hubert Darcy, and Finbar Cregg 0-1 each.

FERMANAGH: James McGrath; Kevin McDonnell, Che Cullen, Jonny Cassidy; Eoin Sheils, Richard O’Callaghan, Ultan Kelm; Eoin Donnelly, Stephen McGullion; Shane McGullion, Ryan Jones, Conall Jones; Lorcan McStravick, Ciarán Corrigan, Aidan Breen.

Subs: Declan McCusker for McStravick (40), Daniel Teague for Shane McGullion (55), Niall Cosgrove for Shiels (65), Eoin McManus for Breen (67).

ROSCOMMON: Colm Lavin; David Murray, Conor Daly, Gary Patterson; Niall Daly, Brian Stack, Evan McGrath; Tadhg O’Rourke, Shane Killoran; Hubert Darcy, Enda Smith, Niall Kilroy; Cathal Cregg, Cian McKeon, Ciarán Lennon.

Subs: Donie Smith for Killoran (1), Richard Hughes for O’Rourke (57), Finbar Cregg for C Cregg (58), Dylan Ruane for Darcy (60).

REFEREE: Cormac Reilly (Meath).

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