Fermanagh 0-11 Antrim 1-11

A devastating late goal from Antrim’s Cathal Hynds all but ended Fermanagh’s hopes of reaching the Tailteann Cup semi-finals for the first time.

It was all going so well for Kieran Donnelly’s men at halftime, as they led by six points, but three Saffron substitutes in the 43rd minute flipped their fortunes and inspired them to advance into the next round of the competition on a damp evening of football at Brewster Park on Saturday.

The Erne side were 0-10 to 0-4 in front, 13 minutes into the second half, but Antrim would then hit a goal and seven points, with six of those points coming from the bench.

Seán Cassidy hit the only score in a cagey opening ten minutes with a downpour on Saturday afternoon affecting conditions in Enniskillen.

Callum Jones went close to a goal in the 11th minute, but Michael Byrne saved his shot as the referee pulled the play back for a free kick which was slotted over by Cassidy.

Ultán Kelm pointed with goalkeeper Byrne then despatching his first 45’ of the day. Kelm and then a Jones free kick off the ground made it 0-5 to 0-1 after 23 minutes.

A Ryan McQuillan score cut the deficit although Fermanagh hit two more before halftime through Declan McCusker and Cassidy to make it 0-8 to 0-2 at the interval.

The travelling side had two wides to open the second half and McCusker tried to work the ball in for a goal at the other end, but the Antrim defence recovered well to snuff out a good scoring chance.

Ronan McCaffrey beat his man to point from a tight angle with Peter Healy, Byrne and Joe McDade then trading scores to make it 0-10 to 0-4.

The triple substitution that saw the introduction of Healy, Conor Hand and Dominic McEnhill, would be the turning point.

Hand and McEnhill both opened their accounts early into the action. Byrne kicked another 45’ that was answered by a left-footed swing over the bar from substitute Garvan Jones to make it 0-11 to 0-7.

Eoin Hynds and Healy cut the gap to two points as Patrick McBride split the posts from a close free to leave one in it.

With three minutes of normal time to play, Antrim struck with the all-important goal Cathal Hynds broke through the Fermanagh line and drilled in a low shot past goalkeeper Sean McNally to send the away fans into raptures.

Another Hynds point, in added time, would make three the difference and it stayed that way as Fermanagh’s high balls into the square came to no avail as Antrim marched on to the final four.

Fermanagh: Sean McNally, Lee Cullen, Ché Cullen, Jonathan Cassidy, Declan McCusker © (0-01), Shane McGullion, Josh Largo Elis, Brandon Horan, Joe McDade (0-01), Callum Jones (0-01, 1F), Conor McShea, Fionan O’Brien (0-01), Ultán Kelm (0-02), Ronan McCaffrey (0-01), Seán Cassidy (0-3, 2F).

Subs: Darragh McGurn for McGullion (49’), Conor Love for Cassidy (55’), Garvan Jones (0-01) for C Jones (55’), Tiarnan Bogue for Horan (70+1’).

Antrim: Michael Byrne (0-3, 3 45’s), Declan Lynch, Eunan Walsh, Kavan Keenan, James McDonnell, Joseph Finnegan, Dermot McAleese, Patrick McAleer, Cathal Hynds (1-00), Colm McLarnon, Patrick McBride (0-01, 1F), Ruairí McCann, Ryan McQuillan (0-01), Ruairí McCann, Marc Jordan.

Subs: Peter Healy (0-02) for Lynch (43’), Conor Hand (0-01) for McLarnon (43’), Dominic McEnhill (0-01) for McQuillan (43’), Eoin Hynds (0-02) for McAleer (49’), Niall Burns for Keenan (70+1’).