Allianz Football League Rd 5
FERMANAGH 0-12 CLARE 0-9
Unbeaten Fermanagh continued their promotion push with another low-scoring victory at Brewster Park.
The Erne men only managed five points from play but Clare, who lost Jamie Malone to a black card at a critical juncture late in the second half, were unable to break down Rory Gallagher’s well-drilled defensive system.
Clare had a late goal chance through Sean O’Donoghue, but Fermanagh goalkeeper Thomas Treacy cleared it off the line and the home side deservedly held on for another important win in Division Two.
Fermanagh started brightly with two points in the opening four minutes from Sean Quigley (free) and Che Cullen. But it was immediately clear there would be little to separate these sides and they were level four times during the half, with Gary Brennan and David Tubridy the familiar key men for Clare.
It was 0-6 to 0-5 to Fermanagh at the break, and only three of the 11 scores were from open play.
Cullen was the sole provider for Fermanagh with Kieran Malone and Conor Finucane pointing for the visitors.
Clare found it difficult to penetrate Fermanagh’s packed defence but Finucane capitalised on a poor kickout by Thomas Treacy with a punishing score and Brennan converted a mark inside after a superb pass by Tubridy.
Tubridy’s second free of the game in front of the posts edged Clare ahead for the only time in the 27th minute but Fermanagh responded with the last two scores of the half, Kane Connor converting a mark and Sean Quigley’s ’45’ deep in stoppage time.
Quigley had teed up Ryan Lyons for the only real goal chance of the half but his left-footed shot was a good height for the goalkeeper who pushed it round the post for a ’45’, which Quigley converted.
Fermanagh kept their noses in front throughout the second half and dictated the tempo with Clare growing more frustrated and taking pot-shots from distance (which included six second-half wides).
Ryan Lyons, Declan McCusker, Ciaran Corrigan and Aidan Breen all scored from play for Fermanagh in the second half.
Scorers for Fermanagh: Sean Quigley 0-6 (5fs, 1 ’45’), Che Cullen, Aidan Breen, Declan McCusker, Ciaran Corrigan, Ryan Lyons 0-1 each, Kane Connor 0-1 (m) .
Scorers for Clare: David Tubridy 0-2 (2fs), Jamie Malone 0-2, Conor Finucane, Kieran Malone, Keelan Sexton 0-1, Gary Brennan 0-1 (mark), Eoin Cleary 0-1 (’45’).
FERMANAGH: Thomas Treacy; Jonny Cassidy, Lee Cullen, Kane Connor; Declan McCusker, James McMahon, Ciaran Corrigan; Che Cullen, Ryan Jones; Ryan Lyons, Ultan Kelm, Aidan Breen; Kevin McDonnell, Conall Jones, Sean Quigley.
Subs: Paul McCusker for McDonnell (30), Eoin Donnelly for Cassidy (47), Daniel Teague for C Jones (55), Darragh McGurn for P McCusker (68), Eamon McHugh for Breen (70).
CLARE: Pierce DeLoughrey; Kevin Harnett, Cillian Brennan, Gordon Kelly; Dean Ryan, Aaron Fitzgerald, Cian O’Dea; Gary Brennan, Cathal O’Connor; Kieran Malone, Sean Collins, Jamie Malone; Eoin Cleary, David Tubridy, Conor Finucane.
Subs: Sean O’Donoghue for O’Connor (49), Keelan Sexton for K Malone (49), Gearoid O’Brien for Finucane (55).
REFEREE: Jerome Henry (Mayo)