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Match Report : Belcoo 0-9 Enniskillen Gaels 1-7

Box Score

Aug. 13, 2009

Gaels withstand Belcoo to move into quarters

Image related to story 389504, see caption or article text
Enniskillen Gaels Tom Brewster gets the ball away despite the attention of Belcoo's Emmett Scallon and Niall McGovern.

Enniskillen Gaels held off a determined Belcoo to clinch their place in the quarter-finals of the Quinn Insurance Fermanagh SFC in Lisnaskea last Friday night.

Belcoo had made the brighter start to the contest as they raced into a 0-04 to 0-00 advantage after 14 minutes, but they were not to score again until the eighth minute of the second half as Enniskillen took control of matters.

With Ryan McCluskey directing the game from centre half back and man of the match Tom Brewster driving his side forward at every opportunity the Gaels struck 1-07 without replay to move six points clear early in the second half, and seemed to be coasting towards a meeting with Devenish in the last eight.

However, Belcoo produced a spirited comeback, lead by full forward Stephen Maguire, to reel Enniskillen in, and in the end they could have snatched a draw but a couple of late efforts failed to find the target as Dom Corrigan's side clung on for a narrow victory.

It was Belcoo though who were to settle into their stride first and they went on to own the opening quarter of the encounter, posting a wide before Maguire lofted over his first score of the evening from a free.

At this early stage Belcoo were first to the ball and looking lively in attack, Ciaran Flaherty doubling their lead with a fine long range effort following good play from Shane McCabe. Indeed Flaherty was an impressive figure for Belcoo during the opening period as he caused the Gaels plenty of problems.

Emmet Scollan popped up from defence to register Belcoo's third of the game, and when Flaherty rifled over his second it appeared as if the O'Rahilly's could be in for a comfortable evening.

This though was not the way things were to work out as Enniskillen began to get to grips with the Belcoo attack and get a foothold in the middle of the park.

Brewster finally got them off the mark with a converted free after McCluskey was fouled and Mickey Lilly then broke forward from defence to collect a pass from Mattie Keenan and clip it over.

Suddenly Belcoo's lead was trimmed to two despite the O'Rahilly's having had the majority of the play, and it got even worse in the 21st minute as Enniskillen struck for the only goal of the game.

A hopeful shot at the posts from Belcoo midfielder Seamus Conlon was fielded superbly by McCluskey close to the end line and quickly transferred to Niall Keenan. He then moved the ball onto Colm Bradley who rounded his marker before playing in Mattie Keenan, and the corner forward carried it towards goal before dispatching a shot past Belcoo goalkeeper James McGrath via the post.

Within minutes the Gaels could have had a second goal only for McGrath to deny James McKenna although Keenan followed up to blast the ball over the bar.

With Brewster then chipping in with two frees before half time it put Enniskillen into a strong position at the break, leading 1-05 to 0-04.

Corrigan's side carried on where they left off after the interval with Aidan McCarron increasing their lead to five points as he lobbed over a free before Mattie Keenan, who was the Gaels main scoring threat throughout the game, banged over another point to make it 1-07 to 0-04.

This though was to be Enniskillen's last contribution to the scoreboard as Belcoo battled their way back into contention.

Maguire accounted for their first score since the opening quarter from a free and Flaherty drilled over another good point from distance to give Belcoo hope as the gap was closed to four points.

With renewed vigour Belcoo continued to put Enniskillen onto the back foot and Maguire clipped over two excellent points in quick succession to make it 1-07 to 0-08 with 13 minutes left to play.

The Gaels were not helping their cause by carelessly giving away possession in attack and they also failed to capitalise on a number of good scoring opportunities which would have nudged them back to three in front.

At the other end Maguire made McCluskey pay for an uncharacteristic sloppy pass by firing over to leave the minimum separating them with two minutes left, and the big full forward felt he should have been awarded a free kick after he went down surrounded by Enniskillen defenders in injury time. Play though was waved on and with a couple of long range shots coming to nothing for Belcoo it was a relieved Enniskillen who greeted referee John Mohan's final whistle.





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