Ulster SFC quarter-final: Fermanagh 0-12 Armagh 0-7

Armagh's Gregory McCabe puts pressure on Fermanagh forward Seamus Quigley in the Ulster SFC game
Armagh's Gregory McCabe puts pressure on Fermanagh forward Seamus Quigley

Fermanagh booked a spot in the Ulster SFC semi-finals as they overcame a woeful challenge from 14-man Armagh.

The Ernemen led 0-6 to 0-4 at half-time at Brewster Park and Niall Grimley was red-carded for an elbow on Sean Quigley straight after the break.

Fermanagh moved six ahead but the visitors cut the lead to four before Seamus Quigley's two points made the game safe.

Quigley scored 0-6 as Fermanagh set up a semi-final with Tyrone or Monaghan.

Fermanagh manager Rory Gallagher conclusively won the tactical battle with Kieran McGeeney, although the Armagh boss cannot necessarily be blamed for the 15 wides that his team shot.

The Ernemen played with width against a narrow Armagh line-up and they also had all the best individuals on show in Declan McCusker, James McMahon, Eoin Donnelly, Ryan Jones and chief marksman Seamus Quigley.

Remarkably, for the first time since the early 1990s, there was not a single Crossmaglen player in the Armagh squad.

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Ulster SFC: Fermanagh deserved win over Armagh - Gallagher

After being beaten by the Orchard men in the Division Three League final in late March, Fermanagh went into the provincial contest as underdogs despite their home advantage.

Kieran McGeeney's side also comfortably defeated Fermanagh - then managed by Pete McGrath - in last year's qualifiers as they began a run to the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

However, Saturday's contest was a completely different story as Fermanagh - apart from a 10-minute spell midway through the second half - bossed the proceedings.

An indicator of Armagh's display is the fact that they did not score from play after Rafferty's 17th minute point.

Declan McCusker's energy in the first half set the tone for Fermanagh's display as they used the wings to good effect as Armagh got bogged down infield and displayed horrendous shooting and option-taking when opportunities did present themselves.

Orchard down to 14

Grimley's red card immediately after half-time was a huge blow for Armagh although it's highly debatable whether it ultimately cost the Orchard men victory.

Grimley could have no argument with referee Paddy Neilan's decision as he stupidly swung his arm at Sean Quigley after delivering a pass to a colleague.

Niall Grimley begins his walk off the pitch after the midfielder is red-carded by referee Paddy Neilan
Niall Grimley begins his walk off the pitch after the midfielder is red-carded by referee Paddy Neilan

To make matters worse for Armagh, Seamus Quigley pointed the resultant free to increase Fermanagh's lead to 0-7 to 0-4 and by the 47th minute the game was effectively over as the Ernemen moved six ahead.

Armagh captain Rory Grugan, unable to start because of injury, did kick two points after coming on to cut Fermanagh's lead to four by the 53rd minute.

However, the Orchard men missed four good chances to further cut into Fermanagh's lead before Quigley's fisted effort, after he had outmuscled Brendan Donaghy, steadied the Ernemen in the 63rd minute.

Hosts seize control

Fermanagh's top scorer Quigley missed the best goal chance of the match as early as the second minute as Blaine Hughes spread himself to make a pointblank save after Sean Quigley's effort for a point had come back off an upright.

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Poor Armagh deserved to lose - McGeeney

But undaunted, Fermanagh moved into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead by the 10th minute with their opening scores highlighted by McCusker's fine effort with the outside of his right boot.

After two Ethan Rafferty points cut Fermanagh's lead to the minimum, Ryan Jones' second point of the half nudged the home side two ahead again and that remained the margin at half-time.

McCusker's all-action first-half was summed up by his brilliant interception just before the break to snuff out a possible goal chance for Grimley.

Having played against a strengthening breeze in the first period, Fermanagh looked in a strong position at the break and Grimley's indiscipline immediately after their resumption only increased that advantage.

Fermanagh: P Cadden; K Connor, C Cullen, M Jones; B Mulrone (0-1), J McMahon, L Cullen (0-1); E Donnelly (capt), R Jones (0-2); P McCusker, D McCusker (0-1), A Breen; Sean Quigley (0-1), C Jones, Seamus Quigley (0-6). Subs: C Corrigan for Sean Quigley 56 mins, D Teague for P McCusker 63, E Maguire for Breen 66, C McManus for Connor 71, T Clarke for C Jones 74

Armagh: B Hughes; P Burns, C Mackin, A McKay; C Vernon, G McCabe, A Forker; B Donaghy, N Grimley; R McShane, M Shields (0-1), B Crealey; G McParland (0-1), A Murnin, E Rafferty (0-2). Subs: R Grugan for McParland 46, N Rowland for Crealey 30, J McElroy for Mackin 43, J Hall for McShane 50, E McGeown for Rafferty 61

Referee: P Neilan (Roscommon).

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