Kildare fell to their opening defeat in Division 2 of the Allianz League as they went down to Fermanagh in a dour contest at Brewster Park.
Kildare struggled for long periods against a Fermanagh team that employed a very defensive system that the Lillywhites just couldn’t find a way to break down.
Kildare never led and only scored a solitary point from play courtesy of Fergal Conway as Fermanagh frustrated the life out of them.
The victory was Fermanagh’s first in the league after two previous draws and Kildare even ended the contest a man down with Ben McCormack getting a red card in stoppage time.
Kildare found it very tough in the beginning to deal with what Fermanagh were throwing at them and the Erne County kicked the opening three points of the game
Sean Quigley got the ball running with an excellent free of the ground from distance before both Ryan Jones and Conall Jones extended the advantage with scores from play.
Adam Tyrrell steadied the ship with a couple of frees but Fermanagh again pushed the lead out with a fine shot from Eoin Donnelly finding the target as he made full use of an extended advantage to swing over and give Rory Gallagher’s men a 0-4 to 0-2 lead.
It took fourteen minutes for Kildare to register a score from play when Fergal Conway split the posts from out wide but instead of making use of that point, Fermanagh were able to bounce back.
Quigley landed his second free to maintain the two point lead for the hosts but it should have been much bigger than the 0-5 to 0-3 scoreline as they also kicked a number of scoreable chances wide of the goal.
It was plain to see that the plan and overall style of play that Fermanagh were bringing to the game was antagonising Kildare with Kevin Feely and Adam Tyrrell both getting yellow cards before the break and a melee even broke out on the whistle where Ben McCormack was booked as Fermanagh took a 0-5 to 0-3 lead into the dressing rooms.
Cian O’Neill introduced both Jimmy Hyland and Cian O’Donoghue in attempt to break down the green wall in the second half and Neil Flynn got them going with a free in the 40th minute after he was originally fouled.
Quigley responded in kind to push the Fermanagh lead out again but Kildare were slowly but surely beginning to find a way into a contest that barely got the pulses racing at any stage.
Flynn doubled his attempts from frees before Fergal Conway brought the sides level for the first time in the 50th minute with a score from a mark after he received an incisive pass from David Hyland.
Fermanagh then had a glorious chance to push ahead when on a rare venture forward wing back Ultan Kelm got behind the Kildare defence but his shot was excellently saved by Mark Donnellan.
Fermanagh didn’t let that miss affect them though with Ryan Lyons edging them back in front with a score in the 59th minute.
Kildare tried everything to force an equaliser in the final ten minutes but they grew ever frustrated at being not able to find a way through and their efforts got tougher when Ben McCormack was sent off in stoppage time on a second byellow card.
Fermanagh then played keep ball for the remaining minutes of the game until Ryan Lyons found space to kick the insurance score as they battled to an 0-8 to 0-6 shock victory.
Kildare now must wait two weeks before they can make amends as the League goes into a break where they then take on Clare in St.Conleths Park in a must win game game if they are to avoid being brought into a relegation scrap.
Scorers for Fermanagh: Sean Quigley 0-3 (0-3fs), Ryan Lyons 0-2, Conall Jones 0-1, Ryan Jones 0-1, Eoin Donnelly 0-1.
Scorers for Kildare: Adam Tyrrell 0-2 (0-2fs), Neil Flynn 0-2 (0-2f), Fergal Conway 0-2 (0-1mf).
Fermanagh: Thomas Treacey; Kane Connor, Lee Cullen, Johnny Cassidy, James McMahon, Aidan Breen, Ultan Kelm, Eoin Donnelly, Conall Jones, Ryan Lyons, Ryan Jones, Daniel Teague, Ciaran Corrigan, Declan McCusker, Sean Quigley.
Subs used: Tom Clarke for Donnelly 20 mins, Paul McCusker for Teague 37 mins, Eamonn McHugh for Connor 40 mins, Shane McGuillon for Clarke 44 mins, Kevin McDonald for Kelm 60 mins.
Kildare: Mark Donnellan; Mark Dempsey, Mick O’Grady, Mark Hyland, James Murray, Eoin Doyle, Keith Cribbin, Kevin Feely, Aaron Masterson, Conor Hartley, Fergal Conway, David Slattery, Neil Flynn, Ben McCormack, Adam Tyrrell.
Subs used: Jimmy Hyland for Tyrell h-t, Cian O’Donoghue for Hartley h-t, Tommy Moolick for Cribbin 60 mins, Fionn Dowling for Conway 60 mins, Padraig Nash for Slattery 64 mins.
Ref: Martin McNally (Monaghan)
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