Brilliant Derry dismantle Fermanagh to put one foot in semi-finals

Allianz Football Leagues, Division Three North

Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 6:44 am

Derry 5-13 Fermanagh 0-9

Derry have one foot in the Division Three semi-finals after dismantling Fermanagh with a second impressive, high scoring victory in two league games at Owenbeg on Saturday.

After hitting Longford for 16 points last weekend, Derry were even better against their Ulster rivals, smashing five goals in an emphatic 19-points victory that leaves the Oak Leafers top of the table and with the cushion of a plus 35 scoring difference should the final standings come down to it.

Derry manager Rory Gallagher. (Photo: Syl Healy)
Derry manager Rory Gallagher. (Photo: Syl Healy)

And just like last week, Derry wheeled away in the game's third quarter, completely over running the Erne men and scoring 3-02 to move into pole position to top the group ahead of next weekend trip to Cavan.

Through the week Rory Gallagher has asked his side to be more clinical despite their Longford win and his requested did not fall on deaf ears as goals from Ethan Doherty, Shane McGuigan (2), Gareth McKinless and Niall Toner put the seal on a brilliant win.

Derry were unchanged from last week's impressive opening day display in Longford, Gallagher able to name an unchanged 15 for the first time in his time in charge of the Oak Leafers as they went in search of their second win.

It was Fermanagh, however, who were quickest out of the blocks, pressing the home side back and taking advantage of early uncertainty in the Derry kick-out. First Ciaran Corrigan intercepted Odhran Lynch's restart to split the posts before Tiarnan Bogue did likewise after the Oak Leafers second kick-out had been lost.

Niall Toner blasts home Derry's fifth goal against Fermanagh at Owenbeg on Saturday. (Photo: George Sweeney)

If Derry were shocked by Fermanagh's blistering opening 90 seconds they didn't show it and soon settled into the game against their deep lying opponents.

Fermanagh lined up with every one behind the ball when out of possession but Derry didn't fall into the Erne's county's defensive trap. Instead Gallagher's men were patient in possession working the ball left and right and waited for openings to appear before launching runners into the gaps once their quick passing had created overloads on either wing.

And in Ethan Doherty, Gareth McKinless and Conor Doherty they had pace to spare and players who could unpick the well manned Fermanagh lock. Indeed it was Doherty's pace which brought Derry back into the contest after that early Erne head start. Benny Heron's movement inside was causing the visitors plenty of problems with the Ballinascreeen man linking play superbly and it was his arrival in a fifth minute move that brought the game's opening goal.

Derry were probing right, then left before the ball was fed into Heron. He won it well and drew in three defenders before recycling right were Doherty was sent clear. The young Glen man had plenty to do but he wasn't found wanting, gliding over the ground before unleashing a fierce shot high into the Fermanagh net for 1-1 to 0-2 after McGuigan had registered Derry opening score.

Derry's Conor Doherty moves forward against Fermanagh at Owenbeg on Saturday. (Photo: Geroge Sweeney)

From there, Derry dominated the opening half and should have been further ahead than their eventual 1-07 to 0-06 interval lead suggested after five first half wides and a couple of gilt edged opening that could have yielded more goals.

McGuigan, Heron and Conor Glass all scored lovely points but Sean Quigley frees were keeping Fermanagh in touch at 1-4 to 0-4 before further home scores from Paul Cassidy, McGuigan and a Niall Loughlin free finally established some daylight for the home team despite another couple of Quigley frees.

It had been a similar tale seen days previously in Pearse Park when Derry should have been well ahead at the break and just as they had in Longford, Derry rectified that stat in the third quarter with a devastating display that this week brought 3-02 and put the game to bed.

Ciaran McFaul's superb long range point within seconds of the restart set the tone and from there Derry went to town. In the 39th minute, the home side won turnover ball that saw Ethan Doherty set up McKinless for a lovely side-footed finish to the net.

That was followed by a Derry penalty when McFaul's brilliant individual run was halted by Josh Largo Ellis which brought the Fermanagh mana black card and Derry a penalty, confidently dispatched by MNcGuigan for 3-08 to 0-06.

And Derry weren't finished yet as McFaul's superb pass picked out McGuigan in space on 49minutes and the Slaughtneil didn't need asking twice, rifling home on his way to a personal tally of 2-05, all from play.

Substitute Niall Toner grabbed the fifth on 59 minutes with an opportunistic finish from Conor Glass' inviting square pass. From there it was only about how many Derry would score and they didn't disappoint.

For the second week in a row, Derry sent out a clear promotion message and on this display, few would bet it is their big last statement of the season.

Derry scorers: Shane McGuigan (2-5, 1pen), Ethan Doherty (1-1), Gareth McKinless (1-0), NIall Toner (1-0), Benny Heron (0-1), Conor Glass (0-1), Paul Cassidy (0-1), Niall Loughlin (0-1, 1f), Ciaran McFaul (0-1), Conor Doherty (0-1), Oisin McWilliams (0-1),

Fermanagh scorers: Sean Quigley (0-7, 5f, 1 forty-five), Ciaran Corrigan (0-1), Tiarnan Bogue (0-1),

Derry Odhran Lynch, Chrissy McKaigue, Brendan Rogers, Padraig McGrogan, Padraig Cassidy, Gareth McKinless, Conor Doherty, Conor Glass, Emmett Bradley, Ethan Doherty, Niall Loughlin, Ciaran McFaul, Benny Heron, Shane McGuigan, Paul Cassidy. (Subs) Paul McNeill for C Doherty, 50mins; Niall Toner for P Cassidy, 55mins; Oisin McWilliams for E Bradley, 59mins; Shea Downey for B Heron, 60mins; Ben McCarron for N Loughlin, 64mins; Jack Doherty for P Cassidy, 64mins; Declan Cassidy for P McGrogan, 64mins;

Yellow card: C Doherty, 10mins;

Fermanagh: Chris Snow, Tiernan Daly, Jonny Cassidy, Luke Flanagan, Kane Connor, James McMahon, Kevin McDonnell, Eoin Donnelly, Stephen McGullion, Ciaran Corrigan, Tiarnan Bogue, Josh Largo Ellis, Sean Cassidy, Darragh McGurn, Sean Quigley. (Subs) Declan McCusker for E Donnelly (inj), 19mins; Cain McManus for T Daly (blood sub), 42mins; Aidan Breen for D McGurn, 44mins; Conor Love for S Cassidy, 44mins; Richard O'Callaghan for T Bogue, 54mins; Danny Leonard for T Daly, 57mins; Mark McCauley for J McMahon, 57mins; Paul McCusker for C Corrigan, 62mins.

Black Card: Josh Largo Ellis, 44mins;

Referee: Paul Faloon (Down)