Fermanagh 3-22  Longford 2-20

Just champion!

Fabulous Fermanagh earned their third Lory Meagher title in a thriller against gritty Longford in a sunny Croke Park.

Two goals from outstanding full-forward Brian Teehan and marksman Danann McKeogh were the key scores for Joe Baldwin’s men in a wonderful contest.

Tipp native Teehan finished with 2-02 and he had a scoring duel with fellow Tipp native Cian D'Arcy who landed 13 points.

It looked grim for Longford after McKeogh’s goal on the resumption put the Ernesiders into a 2-14 to 0-09 lead a minute into the second half.

But Longford dug deep and hit back with two goals of their own from David Buckley and Joe Rabbit.

Fermanagh’s discipline slipped in the second half and D’Arcy was deadly accurate from placed balls.

Longford cut Fermanagh’s lead to three points as the Ernesiders led by 3-20 to 2-20 in the final moments.

And it took a near miss from Buckley and a superb save from Erne keeper Chris McKernan to stop Longford from stealing it at the death.

As it was, a pressure-free converted by Luca McCusker and a JP McGarry point from play settled the winner's nerves. 

Fermanagh settled swiftly into the game and Teehan opened the scoring with a point which took Hawkeye to confirm.

But Longford responded in a heartbeat when Evan Tully angled over a fine response for the Midlanders.

Fermanagh then had a goal disallowed in bizarre circumstances when full forward Teehan reacted quickly to a Sean Corrigan shot that came back off the upright and first-timed the ball to the net.

But referee James Judge blew his whistle and disallowed the goal for no apparent reason as Teehan was not in the square even though the umpires gave a signal for a square ball.

However, the Ernesiders were well on top, and Aidan Flanagan and Luca McCusker made it 0-03 to 0-01.

John Duffy and Tom Keenan made it 0-o5 to 0-01 before Rabbit registered Longford’s second score.

However, Fermanagh were gobbling up all the breaks and the elegant Ciaran Duffy and a McKeogh free stretched their lead out to 0-07 to 0-02 by the 15th minute.

Longford’s ex-Tipperary senior star D’Arcy got his first point of the match and Cathal Mullane added another fine effort from distance to narrow the gap to 0-07 to 0-04.

Fermanagh struck for another goal and this time there was no doubt whatsoever about its veracity as Teehan again found space inside the Longford defence and cooly first timed the sliotar to the net to put Fermanagh into a 1-07 to 0-04 lead.

The lively Corrigan made it 1-08 to 0-04 before Longford shook themselves and responded with two points from Paddy Lynam and David Buckley to leave Fermanagh leading by 1-08 to 0-06.

Corrigan and D’Arcy swapped points before the Ernesiders finished strongly with points from McKeogh, John Duffy, Corrigan and the wristy Caolan Duffy to leave them leading by 1-14 to 0-09 at the break.

And they got a huge fillip when Teehan pressurised Longford keeper Pat Burke and McKeogh pounced to goal and put them into a 2-14 to 0-09 lead.

But Longford rallied well as the Erne discipline faltered and D’Arcy landed the points.

Teehan’s final goal a superb volleyed effort put Fermanagh into a 3-19 to 1-16 lead in the 52nd minute in response to Buckley’s goal in the 48th minute.

But Fermanagh could only manage three more points in the final quarter and deservedly hung on for victory.  

Fermanagh: Chris McKernan; Sean McKendry, Rory Porteous, Ciaran Duffy (0-01); Aidan Flanagan (0-01) Ryan Bogue, Odhran Johnston; Dylan Bannon, Caolan Duffy (0-01); Luca McCusker (0-04,4f) Tom Keenan (0-02) John Duffy (0-02); Sean Corrigan (0-04) Brian Teehan (2-02) Danann McKeogh (1-03,1f) Subs; Jimmy Tormey for John Duffy (42), Ronan McGurn for Sean McKendry (49) John Paul McGarry (0-01) for Danann McKeogh (55), Danny Teague for Tom Keenan (64)

Longford: Pat Burke; Johnny Casey, Eamon Allen, Sean Lancaster; Adam Quinn, Karl Murray, Evan Tully (0-02); Paddy Lynam (0-01) Cathal Mullane (0-02); Oisin Gately, David Buckley (1-01) Joe Rabbit (1-01); Reuben Murray, Cian D’Arcy (0-13) Ronan Courtney. Subs: Dara Caslin for David Buckley (40), Dan Crossan for Ronan Courtney (53). Michael Mulcahy for Eamon Allen (63). 

Referee: James Judge (Mayo)