Fermanagh 1-04 Donegal 3-13

Fermanagh suffered an opening defeat in the Ulster Championship with a 3-13 to 1-04 difference on a windy early afternoon in Donagh.

Donegal’s Paddy Ward palmed in two first-half goals with the latter coming on the stroke of half-time to deliver a blow to Niall McElroy’s side.

A third goal from Conor McCahill in the second half aided a dominant second-half display from the visitors with Fermanagh’s Tomas Cathcart finding the net late on to end his side's scoring drought.

There will be further opportunities for the Erne county with Monaghan in Clones up next this weekend and games with Tyrone and Down to follow that.

It took six minutes for the game's opening score on Saturday with the home side playing with the breeze in the first half and it was Ward who got it after firing a mark between the posts.

After some good link-up play between Conor Mulligan and Nathan Beattie, Fermanagh were awarded a free which was converted by Daire Chapman.

Donegal responded instantly at the other end as a high ball towards the square was palmed in by Ward for the first goal of the game.

The sides again then traded scores with Eoghan Ban McNelis and Chapman on target, and left-footed strikes from Taidgh O’Brien and McCahill following that.

Another Chapman free left two points in the game until McCahill pointed and then a mishit shot flew kindly towards Ward who flicked it into the net in injury time of the first half, to leave it at 2-04 to 0-04 at the interval.

From there, it was all one-way traffic as Donegal increased their lead, kicking with the breeze.

After two missed frees for Donegal, McCahill got them off the mark and then added two more scores, with Donnacha Boyle scoring in between, before Mulligan cleared Christian Ward’s shot at goal off the line.

The third goal did come from McCahill when he was played through by Turlough Carr, drilling in a low shot to the net, to make it 3-08 to 0-04 before the 50-minute mark.

Four points followed a matter of moments later, before Fermanagh eventually hit back with their only score of the half.

Another high ball in was plucked out of the sky by Cathcart who struck it low past goalkeeper Padraig McBride into the bottom left side of the goal with the game ending on a final late point for the away team.

Fermanagh: D Treacy; N Flynn, C Reihill, A McCaffrey; C Casey, R McCann, T O'Brien (0-01); C Mulligan, D Mohan; N Beattie, D Chapman (0-03,2f), D Rooney; O McGovern, D O'Connor, M Duffy.

Subs: C Rasdale for O McGovern (14); T Cathcart (1-00) for Flynn (ht); J Tierney for O'Brien (40); J Moore for Reihill (5); R Hannigan for O'Connor (52).

Donegal: P McBride; Elliot Friel, J Gribben, C McGee; D Ó Baoill, A Cunnea, C Gallagher; K McLoughlin, T Carr (0-01); T Carr (0-02), E Bán McNelis (0-01), C Ó Dochartaigh; E Gallagher, P Ward (2-01), C McCahill (1-05,2f).

Subs: P Devine for Ó Baoill (22); D O Baoighill (0-03,1f)for Cunnea (44); S McCormick for Gallagher (51); T McDevitt for McCahill (55); S O'Carroll for Ward (56)