Fermanagh 2-10 Sligo 3-06

Fermanagh made a winning start to their All-Ireland Junior Championship campaign as they held off a late Sligo comeback to come out on top by one point in Donagh on Sunday.

Sligo suffered a defeat in their opener to Carlow and gave CJ McGourty’s side a late scare, scoring 1-03 in the final four minutes on a slippery surface.

After conceding two first-half goals, Eimear Smyth and Bláithín Bogue both found the net for the Erne side at the beginning of the second half which would turn out to be pivotal in the end.

Smyth opened the scoring with an early free, eventually ending the game with 1-07, as Cora Gilligan and Sinead Cunney responded before the heavens opened at the Louis Leonard Memorial Park.

Lisa Maguire levelled the game with a fine score as Fermanagh then got their first goal chance of the game.

The hosts had plenty of joy from their opponent's kickouts on Sunday with Smyth dispossessing her marker in the 14th minute but her shot was saved by goalkeeper Ellen Maguire.

However, the Derrygonnelly native then hit three unanswered points after a Sligo score to open a 0-05 to 0-03 lead on 18 minutes.

Two goals in three minutes put the away side in the ascendency as Jade Lyons’ shot was saved by Fermanagh goalkeeper Megan Maguire, but Aoife Morrisroe followed up to find the net.

Cara King then came up from corner-back and was played through as she found the top right corner of the goal. Tempo’s Cadhla-Cara Bogue pointed before halftime to leave the score at 0-06 to 2-03.

Fermanagh took control of proceedings early on in the second half.

Smyth landed two frees and then caught a ball in before dummying past a Sligo defender to find space and fire a shot into the left-hand side of the net.

Smyth almost had a second in quick succession when Fermanagh won the kick-out but her shot was saved, although Sligo failed to clear their lines and a loose ball was kicked into the open net by Bláithín Bogue as goalkeeper McGuire was caught in possession.

Smyth then pointed from the following kick-out to maintain the Erne pressure.

Leah Duffy almost responded for Sligo as she watched her low shot ping off the bottom of the left post.

A Bogue ball over the Zebras defence was latched on to by Lisa Maguire who slotted over to make it 2-10 to 2-03 with 15 minutes left.

Sligo’s Aisling Molloy was shown a yellow card as Fermanagh looked in control but quickfire points from Leah Kelly and Tara Breheny saw their side gain momentum.

They got on top of Fermanagh’s kick-outs in the final moments and Nicola Brennan found the top right corner of the net with two minutes to go as Ciara Gorman pointed from a free to leave one in it going into injury time.

Sligo had the ball in the net in the final minute but were penalised for overcarrying as Fermanagh just about held on to secure the win.

Fermanagh: Megan Maguire, Ciara Clarke, Kate Murphy, Eimear Keenan, Shannan McQuade, Courteney Murphy, Lisa Maguire (0-02), Brenda Bannon, Cadhla-Cara Bogue (0-01), Danielle Maguire, Joanne Doonan, Aoife McCabe, Bláithín Bogue (1-00), Eimear Smyth (1-07, 5f), Molly McGloin.

Subs: Niamh McManus for Bannon (47), Sarah Rose Britton for D Maguire (51).

Sligo: Ellen Maguire, Cara King (1-00), Claire Dunne, Sarah Curley, Aisling Molloy, Aoife Morrisroe (1-00), Jennie Creegan, Sinead Cunney (0-01), Tara Breheny (0-02), Eryn Lavin, Cora Gilligan (0-01), Jade Lyons, Leah Duffy, Nicola Brennan (1-00), Leah Kelly (0-01).

Subs: Megan McCormack for Eryn Lavin (49), Ciara Gorman (0-01, 1f) for Lyons (52).