Lory Meagher Cup Round 1
By Larry Cooney at Brewster Park
An inspired Fermanagh team brought the Warwickshire hurlers right back to earth with their eight point victory over the Exiles at a damp Brewster Park, Enniskillen last Saturday afternoon. On a day tinged with sadness and poignancy in the aftermath of the tragic death of Fermanagh hurler Shane Mulholland, the Ernesiders somehow put the effects of the recent tragic news behind them to turn in an impressive performance from the throw-in and get their campaign off to a flying start.
Defending the Omagh Road end against the elements in the opening half, the visitors were soon under the cosh. Having to line out without the injured midfield partnership of Liam Reale and Padraig McCloskey who performed so well against Longford in the recent Division 3B final, Warwickshire struggled for much of the opening half played at times in driving rain.
But the conditions had no apparent effect on the hosts who were able to positively channel their emotions from their recent tragedy into a brilliant opening half display. And unlike their last visit to Ireland in early April, almost the entire Warwickshire team were soon being run ragged.
After a Kevin McGarry point opened the scoring for Fermanagh in the second minute, Warwickshire were on the receiving end of a barrage of scoring from the Ernesiders. In that torrid opening quarter, the visitors had just two wide attempts at their opponents’ posts while Fermanagh ran riot by hitting an unanswered 0-4 through Kevin McGarry, John Duffy, Karl Kehoe and another John Duffy pointed free before Brian McLaughlin set up team captain John Paul McGarry for their opening goal in the fourteenth minute.
And had Fermanagh not hit eleven wides in the opening half, it would have been a far worse situation for the Exiles before David Millea finally opened their account with a very fortuitous soft goal in the twenty-third minute. But goalkeeper Mark Curry later made amends for his embarrassing error to make some vital saves in the second half.
However Fermanagh responded with a further 1-3 from another John Duffey free, Brian McLaughlin and 1-1 from Ciaran Corrigan to open up a 2-9 to 1-0 lead by the thirty-fourth minute before Warwickshire finished the half strongly with a welcome 1-3 in injury time with another David Millea goal and a brace of points from Emmett McCabe (one free) and a quiet Sean Hennessy to leave just six points between the teams at half-time when the score was: Fermanagh 2-9 Warwickshire 2-3.
Fermanagh always seemed to have a better response for anything the visitors tried and when Duffy (free) and the impressive Daniel Teague replied with three points to move seven points clear by the 44th minute, Warwickshire needed another break if they were to have any hope of getting back into contention. And although Colin Moran replied for the Exiles with a point a couple of minutes later, they failed to score the goal that would have given them the required boost.
Scorers – Fermanagh: Ciaran Corrigan 2-1, John Duffy 0-5 (4f), John Paul McGarry 1-0, Daniel Teague, Kevin McGarry 0-2 each, Brian McLaughlin, Karl Kehoe 0-1 each. Warwickshire: David Millea 2-0, Emmett McCabe 0-3 (0-1)f(0-1)65, Sean Hennessy 0-2(0-1)65, John Reddan and Colin Moran 0-1 each.
Fermanagh: Marcus Curry; David Teague, Declan McGarry, Fergus Bannon; Thomas Cleary, Mark Slevin, Karl Kehoe; John Duffy, Daniel Teague; John Paul McGarry, Kevin McGarry, Andrew Breslin; Ciaran Corrigan, Shea Curran, Brian McLaughlin. Subs: Barrie Duffy for D Teague 23, Dermot Curran for Cleary 43, Odhran Russell for Duffy 64, Paul McGoldrick for S Curran 69, Colum Rice for K Kehoe 69.
Warwickshire: Micheal Cremin; Dwayne Sheedy, Donnacha Kennedy, Christopher Brough; Joseph Meagher, Kieran Courtney, Shane Conlon; Conor Robbins, Sean Hennessy; Emmett McCabe, John Reddan, Colin Moran; David Millea, John Bergin, Colm McBride. Subs: Pauric Crehan for Moran 63, Jack Quinn for Brough 68.
Warwickshire’s manager Paddy Hoey said after the game: “We were second best today and it was not easy for us in the circumstances but Fermanagh were always going to be one of our toughest opponents,” said the Warwickshire manager who added: “I’m not making any excuses but without a regular midfield partnership, it was always going to be even more difficult but well done to Fermanagh in producing such a fine display and they will be serious contenders for the Lory Meagher Cup, but we are far from out of it ourselves.”
For the full report, see The Irish World.