By Peter Nolan
Red-hot Armagh won their second match of the week when they topped Fermanagh, 4-13 to 1-15, in a Junior A opener to Sunday’s schedule at Gaelic Park. After being idle since last fall, Armagh surprised Kerry in a wet Thursday night match at Gaelic Park and carried that momentum into Sunday’s decisive victory over their Ulster rivals.
Fermanagh came into this match needing a victory after a tough opening loss to Donegal. Gary Judge put Fermanagh ahead with the first of his 0-8. The early going went Fermanagh’s way, with points from Gary Dowd, Damien Boyle, Michael McGovern and another from Judge sending Fermanagh out front 0-5 to 0-2 as Noel McPartland and Pat McGuire replied for Armagh.
Armagh played McPartland, their best forward, in the corner and risked wasting him if he didn’t get the chances. Armagh’s sideline men looked pretty smart when McPartland’s perfect crossing pass was palmed to the Fermanagh goal by Gary McGonnell.
They were smiling again when keeper Fergie Bogue, who had no choice, dragged down McPartland. Bogue had no chance to stop Niall Farrelly’s well-struck penalty and with everything going their way, Armagh added three points on the trot to lead 2-5 to 0-6 at halftime.
Gary Judge pointed to start the second half, but Armagh answered with 0-4, two from McPartland frees and one each from Collie Fearon and Gary McGonnell. Judge interrupted with a Fermanagh point, but McGonnell goaled again from McPartland on an almost identical play. Two more points saw Armagh’s lead balloon to 3-11 to 0-9. Fermanagh looked dead but they still has some life left.
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A couple of more points from Judge set up a great goal from Gary Dowd. Judge and Michael Murphy pointed and Armagh’s insurmountable lead was down to 0-5, 3-11 to 1-12. Then Armagh pulled up their socks. Collie Fearon started a great move, fielding and passing to McGonnell. McGonnell hit McPartland and McPartland fed Danny McCann, who buried the ball in the Fermanagh net.
Fermanagh kept coming but there was too much to do and Armagh’s successful week was complete.
Man of the Match: Noel McPartland.
Armagh: Donal Boyle, Peter McGown, Aiden Loye, Gavin Trimble, Brendan Donaghue, Shane Haughey, Louis Breslin, Collie Fearon (0-1), Niall Farrelly (1-0), Danny McCann (1-0), Mark Duffy (0-1), Billy Grant (0-1), Gary McGonnell (2-1), Paddy McGuire (0-3), Noel McParland (0-6.)
Fermanagh: Fergus Bogue, Ciaran Donnelly, Sean Melly, Gene Mulligan, Fergal Brennan, Stephen Owens, Damien Boyle (0-1), Gary Dowd (1-1), Michael Murphy (0-2), Anthony Fitzpatrick (0-1), Dave Higgins, Stephen Garry, Michael McGovern (0-1), Sean Jones, Gary Judge (0-8). Sub: Minty Bogue (0-1).