Division One: Down 0-10 1-16 Fermanagh

Declan McCusker of Fermanagh in action against Down at Esler Park
Fermanagh aim to be promotion contenders this year

Fermanagh got their attempt to win promotion to Division One off to the perfect start as they ran out 1-16 to 0-10 winners away to Down on Saturday.

Eoin McManus got the only goal in the second half as Peter McGrath's men won convincingly at Pairc Esler.

"The goal was the decisive score. It gave us some breathing space," said Erne county manager McGrath.

"The first match is an important one because it can decide the complexion of the rest of your campaign."

Tomas Corrigan hit eight points, seven from frees, with the McManus goal coming after 53 minutes.

Despite not scoring for 22 minutes in the opening half, the visitors led 0-6 to 0-5 at the interval and were totally dominant in the second half.

It was a precious opening round win for Erne boss McGrath, who led Down to All-Ireland titles in 1991 and 1994.

Eoin McManus scored Fermanagh's goal at Esler Park
Eoin McManus scored Fermanagh's goal at Esler Park

Down's wait for a first league win since April 2015 continues, and after a good spell before half-time they faded quickly and accepted their fate far too tamely.

Fermanagh settled quickest and were good value for their 0-4 to 0-1 lead after 13 minutes.

Alan Davidson opened the scoring with a free for Down after 41 seconds but Tomas Corrigan landed three frees and Eddie Courtney scored from play to give the visitors an early cushion.

The Erne men owned the ball in the first quarter but racked up seven first-half wides.

The game changed in the second quarter as Down forced their way back into the game.

Davidson's placed balls, along with points from Conaill McGovern and Shay Millar, saw Down hit four points without reply.

It was a poor start in Division Two for Down having been relegated from the top flight last year
It was a poor start in Division Two for Down having been relegated from the top flight last year

Fermanagh failed to score for 22 minutes but Sean Quigley ended the drought with the best point of the match, hoofing one over from play from 50 metres for the equaliser. Corrigan tagged on an injury-time free to edge Fermanagh in front 0-6 to 0-5 at the break.

Pete McGrath's side scored seven points without reply either side of the break as Fermanagh regained control.

Aidan Breen scored twice from play, with Corrigan adding three frees as Fermanagh streaked clear.

Davidson's point ended a 17-minute barren spell for Down and they hit three points in three minutes to reduce the gap to three points.

Fermanagh responded well to Down's rally, with Eoin McManus's well-taken goal in the 53rd minute.

Not for the first time, the Mourne defence parted far too easily and McManus drilled a low shot to the far corner of the net to put Fermanagh 1-12 to 0-8 ahead.

The goal took the sting out of the contest and Erne subs Cathal Beacom and Ryan Lyons took the number of Fermanagh players on the scoresheet to nine.

Allianz Football League Division One - Saturday 4 February
Division Two
Mayo0-12 1-11Monaghan
Down0-10 1-16Fermanagh