Carlow 0-13 Fermanagh 1-13

Conor McShea’s goal three minutes before halftime proved to be the difference between Carlow and Fermanagh at Netwatch Cullen Park on Saturday.

It gave Fermanagh a crucial lead just before the interval and one they would not relinquish for the remainder of the contest despite some outstanding long-range scores from The Dolmen County.

Fermanagh have two wins from two heading into their final group game against Laois and are one win away from confirming a place in the Tailteann Cup quarter-finals.

Ché Cullen opened the scoring after two minutes on a still and overcast late afternoon and it would take another eight minutes for the next score as captain Declan McCusker’s inswinging shot sailed between the posts after both sides had kicked wides.

Carlow opened their account a moment later as Ross Dunphy worked his way into the ‘D but some good defending forced him to turn around, only for the midfielder to conjure an inventive kick over his head to score.

The home side’s captain Darragh Foley then converted his first free of the day, but Cullen regained the Erne lead with another point.

Foley would then level it with another free after Eric Molloy was pulled back, with just under 20 minutes played.

Carlow went two points ahead momentarily when Aaron Amond and Jamie Clarke pointed but Ultán Kelm’s effort brought it back to one.

After Mikey Bambrick’s point, Niall Carew’s side looked to be taking a lead into the break, but a swift Fermanagh move saw Seán Cassidy play McShea through on goal and he rounded goalkeeper Johnny Furey before stabbing the ball into the net to give his side a 1-6 to 0-4 advantage.

The teams lined up again for the second-half with Fermanagh in their striking all-black strip in contrast with Carlow’s traffic light kit and it didn’t take long for Josh Largo Elis to begin the scoring as Jamie Clarke and Kelm then traded points.

Foley and Largo Elis were again on target, with Fermanagh two ahead, as the game went without a score for nine minutes as three Fermanagh turnovers went unpunished by the hosts.

Fionan O’Brien fisted over before Foley pointed with another fine free from distance as the teams remained in touching distance of each other.

Points from Cormac Lomax and Johnny Cassidy saw Kieran Donnelly’s side hold a two-point lead heading into the final five minutes with substitute Conor Love extending the lead.

With the score at 1-10 to 0-10, Fermanagh would cancel out all three of Carlow’s final points as the hosts threw men forward.

First Shane McGullion responded to Ciarán Moran’s point, then Darragh McGurn to Foley and then also Love to Foley, following his final free.

A final launched ball into the square was punched out by Lee Cullen for Love to scamper away with, and to the Erne side’s relief, the full-time whistle sounded to take a second victory.

Carlow: Johnny Furey, Colin Byrne, Mark Furey, Eric Molloy, Mikey Bambrick (0-1), Jamie Clarke (0-2), Colm Hulton, Conor Doyle, Ross Dunphy (0-1), Aaron Amond (0-1), Paddy McDonnell, Conor Crowley, Liam Gavin, Darragh Foley (0-6, 5F), Cormac Lomax (0-1).

Subs: Niall Hickey for Lomax (56’). Ciarán Moran (0-1) for Byrne (60’. John Piri for Hulton (60’).

Fermanagh: Sean McNally, Lee Cullen, Ché Cullen (0-2), Johnny Cassidy (0-1), Declan McCusker (0-1), Shane McGullion (0-1), Josh Largo Elis (0-2), Brandon Horan, Joe McDade, Callum Jones, Conor McShea (1-0), Fionan O'Brien (0-1), Ultán Kelm (0-2), Garvan Jones, Seán Cassidy.

Subs: Ronan McCaffrey for C. Jones (32’). Conor Love (0-2, 1F) for G. Jones (48’). Darragh McGurn (0-1) for S. Cassidy (59’). Aidan Breen for Horan (61’).