FL2: Royals confirm promotion at Fermanagh's expense

March 24, 2019

Meath's Cillian O'Sullivan with Lee Cullen Fermanagh during the NFL Division 2 clash at Pairc Tailteann

Meath are back in Division One for the first time since 2006 after beating Fermanagh by 2-12 to 0-11 at Navan.

Barry Dardis and James McEntee netted in either half for Andy McEntee’s men, who finish top of the table with twelve points from seven outings and will have a chance to avenge their only defeat of the campaign when they face Donegal in the Division Two final at Croke Park next Saturday.

The economical home side made the most of the limited opportunities that came their way to lead by the narrowest of margins at half time, 1-4 to 0-6.

Despite hitting ten wides inside the opening 25 minutes, the visitors still led by four points to two with ten minutes left before the break, Conal Jones, Ciaran Corrigan, Ultan Kelm and Sean Quigley reeling off four quickfire Fermanagh points inside the opening three minutes before Cillian O’Sullivan opened the Royal account on 15 minutes, followed by a Ben Brennan strike seven minutes later.

Dardis’ goal twelve minutes from the break punished Fermanagh’s profligacy and O’Sullivan and Michael Newman pointed either side of Quigley (free) to hand the hosts a slender interval lead, wing back Corrigan closing the first-half scoring with an injury-time effort for Rory Gallagher’s men.

When Ryan Jones had the audacity to draw the Ernemen level upon the restart, Meath pulled away again with points from Newman, Bryan Menton, James McEntee and Dardis before rampaging wing back McEntee put the game out of Fermanagh’s reach with the winners’ second goal on 45 minutes – 2-8 to 0-7.

Conall and Ryan Jones saw their efforts cancelled out by O’Sullivan ... a Newman free left the winners eight in front with seven minutes left. Substitute James Conlon made it double scores, 2-12 to 0-9, with two minutes of the 70 to go. Fermanagh pulled back a couple of late points but defeat means they have missed out on promotion.

Meath - A Colgan; S Lavin, C McGill, R Ryan; J McEntee (1-1), D Keogan, S Gallagher; B Menton (0-1), S McEntee; C O'Sullivan (0-4, 1f), B McMahon, B Brennan (0-1f); T O'Reilly, B Dardis (1-1), M Newman (0-3, 1f). Subs: G Reilly for B Brennan, D Campion for B McMahon, A Flanagan for S McEntee, G McCoy for S Gallagher, J Conlon (0-1) for T O'Reilly.

Fermanagh - J McGrath; L Cullen, K Connor, J Cassidy; C Cullen, J McMahon, R Lyons; E Donnelly, R Jones (0-3); A Breen, U Kelm (0-1), C Corrigan (0-2); S Quigley (0-2, 1f), C Jones (0-2), D McCusker. Subs: P McCusker for R Lyons, D Teague for U Kelm, D McGurn (0-1f) for C Jones, T Clarke for E Donnelly, C McGee for S Quigley.

Referee - J Molloy.

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