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Down come good in Second half against Fermanagh

Sunday 8th November 2020

Ulster SFC Quarter-Final


By Declan Bogue n Brewster Park

Down's superior attacking quality told in the second half as they figured out the puzzle set by an inexperienced Fermanagh team. In truth, it became so, so easy for the Mournemen.

Fermanagh had abandoned the more attacking style that they experimented with to poor results pre-lockdown and set up a wall of defenders.

As you might expect, Down mirrored that, setting up a red wall that Donald Trump might have hoped for last week.

Ryan McMenamin's panel was stretched, with three teenage Championship debutants in defence; goalkeeper Sean McNally, corner-back Luke Flanagan and wing-back Josh Largo-Ellis.

Whereas, Jonny Cassidy and Darragh McGurn are just 20.

From the team that played against Monaghan in their last Championship outing, they were down eight players.

Down are a more settled team in Paddy Tally's second year in charge, and could call on Kevin McKernan, ten years after winning an All-Star, to organise matters in the backline.

The first half was almost entirely even, Down's 24 attacks to Fermanagh's 23, the home side losing possession 11 times to Down's 10.

It was however lit up by a spectacular Barry O'Hagan point and a big shift from Tomás Corrigan who gave marker Gerard Collins a tough time in shooting his way to four points.

Down looked to have more options in their forward line and because of their probing they managed to gather three frees and one from play from Donal O'Hare to go in at half-time 0-7 to 0-6 ahead.

Down's ability to make more of their chances began to tell in the second half. A burst of pace from captain Caolan Mooney stretched the cover and he laid off to Daniel Guinness to square to O'Hare who palmed to the net.

A three-point lead established at this point was added to with more excellent points from Barry O'Hagan, Fermanagh offering precious little in response with five wides and four shots dropped short.

Down will now face Cavan in Sunday's Ulster semi-final, with the opposition facing their fifth game in five weeks.

Scorers for Down: D O'Hare 1-4, 3f, B O'Hagan 0-4, J Johnston 0-2, C Mooney and R Johnston 0-2 each, C Quinn 0-1 each

Scorers for Fermanagh: T Corrigan 0-6, 4f, 1m, C Corrigan, D McGurn, C Jones, D Teague, P McCusker 0-1 each

DOWN: R Burns; P Fegan, P Murdock, P Laverty; G Collins, K McKernan, D Guinness; C Mooney, J Flynn; B O'Hagan, P Devlin, C Poland; J Johnston, D O'Hare, C Doherty. Subs: L Kerr for Devlin (45m), C Quinn for O'Hare (47m), R Johnston for Poland (58m), J Guinness for O'Hagan (65m), C McCartan for McKernan (67m)

FERMANAGH: S McNally; J Cassidy, K Connor, L Flanagan; JL Ellis, J McMahon, C McManus; R O'Callaghan, E Donnelly; C Corrigan, D McGurn, A Breen; S McGullion, T Corrigan, D McCusker. Subs: C Jones for McGullion (33 - 35, Blood sub), D Teague for Breen (HT), S Cassidy for O'Callaghan (HT),K O'Donnell for McManus (52m - Blood sub), R Jones for McMahon (58m), C Jones for C Corrigan (65m), P McCusker for D McCusker (65m)

Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry)