Derrygonnelly 2-19 Tempo 0-14

Champions Derrygonnelly began the defence of their SFL Division One title with a convincing 2-19 to 0-14 victory over Tempo in Canon Maguire Park on Sunday afternoon.

Newly promoted Tempo had been competitive for long periods of the game with Lorcan McStravick in superb form for the visitors, accounting for 0-12 of his side’s tally, but the Harps finished the contest strongly stretching a three point advantage at the midway stage of the second half into an eleven point one by the final whistle as their greater strength told.

Indeed, McStravick wasn’t the only young forward displaying their quality on the day with Micheal Glynn very impressive for the Harps on his senior debut, hitting 1-06 from play as well as setting up his side’s opening goal for Ryan Jones in the first half.

Glynn will be a good addition to the Harps attack as they look to retain league and championship titles while the return to action of Gary McKenna having missed last year through injury further adds to their fire power, McKenna chipping in with six points of his own.

Harps manager Sean Flanagan was pleased with his side’s first outing of the season.

“We had a good level of control and we would be satisfied with the performance although the last ten minutes were maybe a bit harsh on Tempo in context of their overall performance. Look, we’re glad to get out again and we’re just trying to get a bit of shape to our play and we have three or four weeks to get ready for the championship,” he said.

As Flanagan eludes too, the final scoreline was slightly harsh on the Maguires and their manager Pat McNabb was reasonably satisfied with what he seen for the best part of the contest.

“It was my first taste of Fermanagh football and going away to Derrygonnelly was never going to be easy but I was happy enough with the first 45 minutes or so. But Derrygonnelly’s strength in the middle of the field was the difference. We were ok when we could get the short kick outs away but when we had to go long they were winning possession.

“We will take the positives out of it though and we’ll look now to Sunday’s game against Irvinestown, “ he said.

Derrygonnelly started the game without key defenders Michael Jones, Eamon McHugh and Tiernan Daly with Conall Jones also absent but they were quickly into their stride as Glynn sent Ryan Jones racing through on goal and he rounded Matthew Jackson in the Tempo goal before slotting to the empty net.

McStravick though was a thorn in the side for Derrygonnelly all afternoon and he replied with his first of the game, collecting possession from a kick out before driving forward and firing over.

Glynn and McStravick then traded points, both fine efforts, before Oisin Jackson claimed a mark from a lovely McStravick pass before clipping over to leave it 1-01 to 0-03.

And the sides continued to trade points as McStravick notched two more for Tempo while Garvan Jones and McKenna were on target for the Harps in an entertaining first half.

The home side though went on to land four of the next five points as they managed to open up a bit of breathing space. Stephen McGullion, Garvan Jones, Glynn and Declan Cassidy all rattled over scores for the Harps during this period as they moved into a 1-07 to 0-06 advantage.

Tempo though responded towards the end of the half and with McStravick converting two frees and a mark, they managed to close the gap back to two points by the interval, 1-08 to 0-09, Lee Jones the scorer of the Harps sole effort during this spell.

The away side then landed the first point of the second half through another McStravick free to cut the deficit to the minimum but the Harps answered this with three points in a row from McKenna, Ryan Jones and Glynn.

Derrygonnelly were starting to get on top in the middle third and although Aidan Breen did lob over a point for Tempo, McKenna kept the scoreboard ticking over at the other end for the home side who also had a Glynn shot saved by Jackson.

McStravick’s accuracy was keeping Tempo in touch though and he registered his tenth of the day from a free to keep his side within three points.

However, it was Derrygonnelly who were to dictate things in the final quarter. Glynn landed a sublime effort with the outside of the boot to push them four clear and after he and McKenna had tagged on further points the teenager then put the game to bed as he fired low to the net to make it 2-15 to 0-12.

McStravick did have another two points for Tempo but the home side notched the final four points of the game through Glynn, McKenna (2) and Nathan Jones to run out comfortable victors in the end.