Fermanagh 1-16 Derry 1-06

The Fermanagh Ladies quest to land an All-Ireland title is still on track as they overcame a dogged Derry challenge to set up a meeting with London in the Junior All-Ireland Championship.

The 10-point victory in Garrison on Sunday meant that Fermanagh topped their group ahead of Antrim.

Manager Jonny Garrity said everybody involved was delighted to be in the last four following two good wins against tough opposition.

“We had viewed that match beforehand as a potentially tricky one against a team fighting for their lives,” said Jonny.

“We knew that we would have to play with a lot of patience on the day and be disciplined in our approach and we showed that discipline and that composure and more and I thought it was a great performance.”

Jonny was impressed with the maturity shown by his players in how they managed the game against a well drilled team.

“I would call it a mature performance. Derry had set up very well defensively and they seemed determined not to give much away. And for us then it was showing that discipline and composure and patience and taking the chances when they came our way and we managed to get our noses in front going into the last quarter of the game and we knew Derry would have to come out and play and that was when the gaps opened up for us to add to the tally so it was a brilliant performance for us.”

Derry set up in a similar way to Antrim in the first group game and previous experience of trying to overcome this defensive structure stood to Fermanagh.

“It was a challenge. I have to say Derry were really well set up really well organised really well drilled and coached and I think only that we were very mature on out performance it could have caught us out.”

Derry got the first score of the game through a free before Fermanagh hit the next three scores without reply through Aisling Woods and an Eimear Smyth double.

Derry replied with another free before Smyth got her third point of the game.

With 17 minutes gone Derry got the first goal of the game to move into the lead again.

Fermanagh responded well through Noelle Connolly and Roisin O’Reilly before a third Derry free left it 0-06 to 1-03 with minute of the first half remaining.

The Erne Ladies finished strongly however and rattled over another two scores to leave it 0-08 to 1-03 at half time.

Like the first half, Derry hit the first score of the second half through a free before Fermanagh again hit three in a row with Smyth (3).

Another Derry free broke the Fermanagh momentum before captain Joanne Doonan and Blaithin Bogue made it 0-13 to 1-05 with 10 minutes remaining.

A well worked move put Lisa Maguire in for a score and this was followed up by Smyth goal with 30 minutes played after a great team move to put the game well and truly to bed.

Derry did manage another point, but Bogue cancelled that out in injury time to leave it 1-16 to 1-06 at the final whistle and seal Fermanagh’s semi-final spot.

Next up is London and Jonny admits that having not seen much of the English side, they are somewhat of an unknown quantity. But his side are looking forward to the challenge.

“A bit of an unknown but we have watched them against Louth a couple of weeks ago and we thought they were very impressive to be honest. That was a match they probably should have won against the favourites, according to the experts.

“So, we were very impressed with them. We think they are a very powerful team and very strong team. Individually they have got a lot of very strong players, so we are certainly not taking anything for granted coming into this game.”

And the manager hopes that the experiences of winning throughout this season will stand his team in good stead.

“I think that we can win in a variety of ways and we have shown that in the course of the National League. We have seen some performances where we have run out and hammered a team, other days we have come back from the dead to snatch a win and other days we have won very tight close games so that experience is going to be really useful.

“The ability to win games in a variety of ways is going to be needed against a team like London because there is an element of the unknown with them,” added Jonny.