Football League Division Two: Armagh dent Erne promotion hopes as Donegal win
Fermanagh's Division Two promotion prospects were hit by a 1-9 to 0-6 loss in Armagh as Donegal kept their hopes alive with a comeback win in Cork.
A win would have put the previously unbeaten Ernemen on the brink of Division One but they failed to score for a 41-minute period in Crossmaglen.
Armagh led only 0-5 to 0-4 at half-time but they pulled clear to earn the win that secures their Division Two status.
Donegal fought back from five down to win 1-19 to 1-12 at Pairc Ui Rinn.
The win in Cork means Donegal join Fermanagh and Meath on eight points although the Royals will have the chance to move two clear on Sunday when they face Clare in Ennis in a game postponed from Saturday because of a waterlogged pitch.
Fermanagh's final game is away to Meath next weekend while Declan Bonner's side are at home to Kildare next Sunday when victory could be enough to see them make an immediate return to Division One after their surprise relegation last Spring.
Cork remain on three points and in serious danger of dropping to Division Three with their final game away to Armagh next weekend.
Fermanagh unable to emerge from defensive shell
Fermanagh looked set to take a potentially decisive step towards Division One when they restricted Armagh's half-time lead to the minimum despite the home team's first-half wind advantage.
However, the Ernemen proved singularly incapable of emerging from their defensive shell in the second period as the introduction of Stefan Campbell helped Kieran McGeeney's side take a stranglehold on the contest.
Fermanagh's scoreless run stretched from Declan McCusker's 27th-minute levelling point to his own 68th-minute score.
The lack of attacking ambition from the Fermanagh players in the second period bordered on the bizarre and Armagh were able to comfortably retain possession as the Ernemen retreated into their own half until they finally threw off the shackles when it was far too late in the closing minutes.
McCusker's first-half point was Fermanagh's third straight score as they levelled at 0-4 to 0-4 before a Niall Grimley free nudged Armagh ahead by the break.
In a turgid second half, points from Charlie Vernon, Jamie Clarke and Mark Shields put Armagh four up before Campbell set up another substitute Ethan Rafferty to notch the match-clinching goal on 63 minutes.
In the closing five minutes of action, Fermanagh did threaten a number of goal chances as they lumped in some high balls but it was far too late for the Ernemen.
Donegal show resolve to win in Cork
At Pairc Ui Rinn, Cork led 0-6 to 0-3 after 20 minutes and, while Donegal drew level, a Mattie Taylor goal helped the Rebels lead by five at half-time.
Michael Murphy made his first league start of the season and he was on target early on as Donegal led on three occasions before the Rebels fought back with a run of four straight points.
Murphy's second successful free started a run of three unanswered Donegal points but Taylor's goal on 34 minutes, after Shaun Patton saved an initial shot, was followed by two further Eoghan McSweeney points as Cork led 1-8 to 0-6 at the interval.
Cork still looked in control at 1-10 to 0-8 ahead after 45 minutes but a Ryan McHugh point then started a run of four successive Donegal points.
Connolly's 51st-minute free left Cork two ahead but Donegal were ahead by the 58th minute after points from Niall O'Donnell, Murphy and Hugh McFadden.
Cork's last bit of resistance saw Connolly levelling on 61 but two points from the impressive O'Donnell and Daire O Baoill's second point of day put Donegal three clear before O'Donnell's unselfishly set up Jamie Brennan for the goal that ended the contest.
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE RESULTS/FIXTURES