ARMAGH 1-16 FERMANAGH 0-17
Andrew Murnin scored the decisive goal and was crowned Man of the Match as Armagh capped a strong spring with the Allianz Football League Division 3 title.
Full-forward Murnin finished with 1-3 and his 54th minute goal, a palmed effort from just inches out after a ball broke kindly to him, separated the sides.
That goal put Armagh five points ahead and they required that cushion because Fermanagh threw the kitchen sink at Kieran McGeeney’s side late on.
Fermanagh scored the last three points, through Tomas Corrigan, Conall Jones and Barry Mulrone, but simply ran out of time as Armagh clung on for an important win.
It’s first blood of sorts for Armagh ahead of their meeting in the Ulster championship at Brewster Park on May 19.
Sean Quigley was a late addition to the Fermanagh attack, wearing number 28, but lasted just two minutes. He was shown a black card and replaced by Ciaran Corrigan in a considerable blow to the Ernersiders’ attack.
Seamus Quigley picked up the scoring slack in his brother’s absence and gave an exhibition of first-half free-taking, converted six placed balls.
One of those was won by Declan McCusker who was named in defence, but started in attack and asked plenty of questions of Armagh.
McCusker also got on the score sheet himself as did Conall Jones who pointed in the 22nd minute to put Fermanagh into a brief 0-5 to 0-4 lead.
Fermanagh also led at 0-8 to 0-7 late in the half after Quigley’s sixth free though Andrew Murnin tied it up at 0-8 eachat half-time.
That meant both sides had already scored a point apiece more than when they met in Round 6 of the League and drew 0-7 to 0-7.
Former Tyrone star Ryan McMenamin was a vocal figure on the Fermanagh sideline as selector and roared out words of encouragement.
Armagh fired seven first-half wides though defender Patrick Burns scored one beauty and repeated the feat in the second-half.
Armagh enjoyed a strong third quarter and had point scorers in Ryan McShane, Murnin, Niall Grimley, Burns and Aidan Forker before Murnin got his goal.
There was a touch of fortune to it as Gregory McCabe went up for a high ball with Fermanagh goalkeeper Patrick Cadden and the ball spill loose to Murnin to tap in.
Fermanagh upped the ante in the closing period, but couldn’t get any closer than that two-point margin late on.
Scorers for Armagh: Andrew Murnin 1-3, Niall Grimley 0-4 (3fs), Aidan Forker 0-2, Patrick Burns 0-2, Ryan McShane 0-2, G McCabe 0-1, Ben Crealy 0-1, Niall Rowland 0-1.
Scorers for Fermanagh: Seamus Quigley 0-9 (9fs), Conall Jones 0-3, Ryan Jones 0-2, Declan McCusker 0-1, Tomas Corrigan 0-1, Barry Mulrone 0-1.
ARMAGH: Blaine Hughes; Brendan Donaghy, Aaron McKay, Conor Macken; Patrick Burns, Niall Rowland, Gregory McCabe; Stephen Sheridan, Charlie Vernon; Ben Crealey, Aidan Forker, Niall Grimley; Rory Grugan, Andrew Murnin, Ethan Rafferty.
Subs: Ryan McShane for Vernon (32), Gavin McParland for Rafferty (47), Kevin Dyas for Rowland (60), Oisin MacIomhar for Grugan (70), Ryan Owens for Macken (72).
FERMANAGH: Patrick Cadden; Che Cullen, Micky Jones, Eamon McHugh; Barry Mulrone, James McMahon, Aidan Breen; Tom Clarke, Eoin Donnelly; Conor McGee, Declan McCusker, Ryan Jones; Sean Quigley, Conall Jones, Seamus Quigley.
Subs: Ciaran Corrigan for Sean Quigley (5, black card), Kane Connor for McHugh (h/t), Ruairi Corrigan for McGee (41), Daniel Teague for Clarke (44), Tomas Corrigan for Breen (51), Eamon Maguire for McMahon (63).
REFEREE: James Molloy (Galway).