Fermanagh 2-11 Monaghan 0-12

The Rory Gallagher era got off to a winning start for Fermanagh as second half goals from Conall Jones and Aidan Breen secured a five point victory over Monaghan i n the opening McKenna Cup game at a wet Brewster Park tonight.

There was little dividing the sides in the first period with Monaghan going in with a slender one point advantage but Jones hit the net within the first minute of the second half and Breen bagged a second at the end of the third quarter to ensure the Ernemen picked up the win.

The first half was a evenly contested affair played in heavy underfoot conditions.

It was Malachy O'Rourke's side who had the better of things in the opening period of the game with corner forward David Garland a lively presence as they edged into a 0-03 to 0-01 lead by the 15th minute.

The teams traded points early on with Garland landing the opening point of the game for the Farneymen before Sean Quigley responded with a well struck effort from play.

Michael Bannigan put Monaghan back ahead with a cracking free off the ground and the same player converted another fee soon after to put two between the sides.

Fermanagh though responded well and Eoin McManus rattled over a point from distance before Conall Jones levelled up proceedings as he slotted over following good work from Eoin Donnelly and Quigley.

Again the visitors claimed the advantage as Garland pointed from a free and James Wilson once more put two in it as he landed a point from play.

Fermanagh, who were wasteful in front of the posts, especially in the first half, were enjoying their fair share of possession and a foul on Ryan Lyons led to a converted Quigley free before Conall Jones tied up matters with his second point of the game.

However, it was Monaghan who were to go in at the break with the lead as Niall Kearns knocked over after Fermanagh were guilty of giving away possession to leave it 0-05 to 0-06 at the break.

The second half though got off to the best possible start for Fermanagh as they swooped for their opening goal.

Ryan Jones and Aidan Breen were involved in the build up with Breen laying the ball off to Conall Jones who produced a composed finish to make it 1-05 to 0-06.

Back came Monaghan and two Garland points levelled up the contest before Fermanagh goalkeeper Pat Cadden pulled off a fine save to deny Darren Freeman. But the game swung back in Fermanagh's favour as Paul McCusker popped over a point in the 53rd minute which was quickly followed by Breen's goal.

Ruairi Corrigan, who was an influential figure on his introduction, slipped in Breen and he finished with aplomb to put the home side into a 2-06 to 0-08 lead.

Bannigan did clip over a free for the Farney but Breen answered with a terrific point from the right hand side.

A brilliant piece of defending by Cian McManus denied Monaghan's Owen Duffy a goal although two frees from distance by goalkeeper Rory Beggan left it a two point game, 2-07 to 0-11.

Fermanagh though went on to put the game to bed in the latter stages as Ryan Lyons knocked over a free and Ryan Jones, Corrigan and Conor McGee tagged on points from play to put six in it.

Owen Duffy did hit a late point for O'Rourke's side but Fermanagh had done enough to seal a 2-11 to 0-12 victory.

Fermanagh: P. Cadden; E. McHugh, C. Cullen, J. McCann; P. McCusker (0-01), D. McCusker, L. Cullen; E. Donnelly, R. Jones (0-01); E. McManus (0-01), R. Lyons (0-01, 1f), A. Breen (1-01); L. McStravick, C. Jones (1-02), S. Quigley (0-02, 1f)

Subs: C. McManus for McCann, R. Corrigan (0-01) for E. McManus, E. Courtney for Quigley, C. McGee (0-01) for McStravick, K. Connor for C. Jones, J. Feeley for L. Cullen (bc)

Monaghan: R. Beggan (0-02, 2f); J. McCarron, C. Boyle, B. Kerr; K. Duffy, P. McGuirk, S. Finnegan; N. Kearns (0-01), N. McAdam; O. Duffy (0-01), M. Bannigan (0-03, 3f), P. McKenna; D. Garland (0-04, 2f), D. Freeman, J. Wilson (0-01)

Subs: F. Kelly for Kearns, F. Connolly for Finnegan, D. Connolly for McKenna, D. Hughes for Freeman, B. McBennett for Bannigan, O. Coyle for McGuirk