Wicklow demolish Fermanagh to win division Four title
Wicklow 2-16 Fermanagh 1-11
Wicklow blossomed at Croke Park on their way to a spectacular NFL Division Four final triumph.
They demolished the title challenge of a Fermanagh side that had not tasted defeat in this year’s league, but limped away, hurting from an eight points reversal.
Seanie Furlong was the star of the show, hitting a 1-5 tally, with Leighton Glynn and Tony Hannon also contributing handsomely to an impressive attacking effort.
The midfield dominance of James Stafford and Rory Finn was another importrant factor, and they made their own contribution on the scoreboard with a combined five points haul.
Fermanagh looked most likely to get a goal in the opening stages, when Seamus Quigley brought a superb save from John Flynn.
They had gone ahead through wing back Barry Mulrone, but it was Wicklow who hit the net first.
James Stafford fetched at midfield, sending Seanie Furlong in, and he fired an angled shot past Ronan Gallagher.
Furlong added a couple of frees and a well worked point from play to give Garden county a three points advantage with 15 minutes on the clock.
And they tagged on further points, including an 18th minute goal from defender Ciaran Hyland, whose initial shot was kept out by Gallagher, but he followed up to punch home.
Stafford followed up with a couple of scores, and soon Wicklow were nine points clear.
Fermanagh recovered from a seven-minute 1-4 concession to pull back points through Eamon Maguire and Conor Quigley, and midfielder Eoin Donnelly fired in a goal from Tomas Corrigan’s precision pass in the 25th minute.
Corrigan steered over three points, and from nine points ahead, Wicklow went in at the break with a slender two points lead, 2-8 to 1-9.
Andrew McLoughlin was a solid figure at the back as Fermanagh pressed strongly early in the second half, but the Ulster side was unable to create scoring opportunities.
It was Wicklow who stretched the advantage through Tony Hannon and Rory Finn.
However, Corrigan was always a danger, and when he skipped inside, goalkeeper John Flynn had to be at his best to keep out an angled shot.
With Stafford and Finn on top at midfield, Wicklow pushed on, with Furlong and Hannon both steering over frees,
Fermanagh were flagging badly, and it took them 22 minutes to register their first score of the second half, a free from substitute Paul Ward.
Furlong and Glynn combined to craft the openings for two more points from Finn, scores that made it a seven point game with seven minutes to play.
There was to be no denying a determined Wicklow side, who finished strongly to cap a triumphant league campaign.
Wicklow scorers: S Furlong 1-5 (0-3f), C Hyland 1-0, T Hannon 0-4 (1f), R Finn 0-3, J Stafford, L Glynn 0-2 each.
Fermanagh scorers: E Donnelly 1-0, T Corrigan 0-3, S Quigley 0-2 (2f), C Quigley, B Mulrone, D Keenan, E Maguire,, D Kille, P Ward (f) 0-1 each.
Wicklow: J Flynn, C Hyland, A McLoughlin, A Byrne, D Healy, M McLoughlin, S Kelly, J Stafford, R Finn, L Glynn, D O’Sullivan, D Hayden, T Hannon, S Furlong, J McGrath.
Subs: P Burke for O’Sullivan (48), P Earls for McGrath (62)
Fermanagh: R Gallagher, N Bogue, B Cox, N McGovern, C Quigley, R McCluskey, B Mulrone, S Lyons, E Donnelly, D Keenan, S McCabe, R Jones, E Maguire, S Quigley, T Corrigan.
Subs: B Owens for McGovern (h-t), D Kille for Jones (48), M McGrath for Mulrone (52), P Ward for Maguire (52)
Referee: F Kelly (Longford).