Two injury-time goals sink Fermanagh as Antrim book place in Tailteann Cup quarter-finals

ANTRIM scorched into a home quarter-final tie in the Tailteann Cup following this explosive victory over Fermanagh at the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds, Armagh.

The Erne side appeared to have taken a grip on the game just after half-time but Antrim’s spirit and courage were to serve them well in a dramatic finish when substitute Oisin Doherty and full-forward Ruairri McCann pounced for goals in added time to signal a significant success for their team.

Fermanagh were quickly out of the blocks at the start and looked particularly sharp as they all but laid siege to the Antrim posts.

It was Ultan Kelm who spearheaded Fermanagh’s bright start with a first-minute point and when Sean Quigley landed a brace with Tommy McCaffrey also hitting the target, Fermanagh looked comfortable at 0-4 to 0-1.

But that was as good as it got for the Erne outfit in the first-half. Slowly but surely Antrim began to show greater cohesion and a series of raids from deep within their own territory were to pay dividends.

Dominic McEnhill landed points from two frees and Adam Loughran scored the team’s first point from play in the 26th minute.

When Ruairi McCann from the Kickhams Creggan club whisked over a 32nd-minute point, Antrim nosed into the lead before Quigley brought them level again.

But Antrim’s spirit and commitment had been stepped up considerably and when full-back Peter Healy climaxed a lung-bursting run from deep in added time with a spectacular point Antrim were very much up and running, their 0-6 to 0-5 interval lead a deserved bonus for their recovery from a disappointing start.

But in a fiery burst at the start of the second-half Fermanagh appeared to have regained their earlier dominance when Ryan Lyons and Garvan Jones fired over points before the former cracked in a spectacular goal. which was followed by another point from the impressive Kelnm that left Fermanagh ahead by 1-8 to 0-8.

Once again the initiative changed hands when McEnhill and Pat McCormack scooped points for Antrim before Adam Loughan raised a green flag.

Even then Fermanagh responded with a point from Jones but Antrim still led by 1-12 to 1-11.

That set the stage for the dramatic finish when first substitute Oisin Doherty drilled in a superb goal and when this was followed by a second from McCann, Antrim had taken a firm grip on the proceedings at the most vital stage of the game.

They now find themselves in the quarter-finals and on the evidence of this form they will fancy their chances of making further progress in the competition.

Fermanagh: S McNally; L Flanagan, C Cullen, L Cullen; S McGullion, J Cassidy, C McManus; R Jones 0-1, B Horan; C McShea, R Lyons 1-0, R McCaffrey 0-1; U Kelm 0-3, T McCaffrey 0-2, S Quigley 0-4 . Subs: G Cavanagh for McManus (35), G Jones 0-1 for Lyons (45), C McGee for Horan (54), J L Ellis for McGullion (64), D McGurn for Quigley (66).

Antrim: M Byrne 0-1 (45); P McCormick 0-1, P Healy 0-1, E McCabe; D McAleese, C McGettigan, M Jordan; C Stewart, C Hynds; C McLarnon, A Loughran 1-3, R McCann 0-1; P McBride, R McCann 1-1, D McEnhill 0-5 (4f). Subs: C Johnston for McLarnon (45), D Lynch for McGettigan (50), R Boyle for McAleese (64), O Doherty 1-0 for R McCann (68).

Referee: Liam Devenney (Mayo)

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