2014 Lory Meagher Cup – Holders Warwickshire facing elimination

Warwickshire star Sean Hennessy in action in Croke Park last June. Last Saturday’s defeat to Fermanagh has left Warwickshire’s prospects of return in doubt.

Warwickshire star Sean Hennessy in action in Croke Park last June. Last Saturday’s defeat to Fermanagh has left Warwickshire’s prospects of return in doubt.

Fermanagh 2-17 Warwickshire 0-18 Warwickshire opened their Lory Meagher Cup campaign with a very disappointing five-point defeat to Fermanagh at Pairc na hEireann last Saturday afternoon. Although the holders have a much changed team this year, excluding the members of the Manchester-based Fullen Gaels club, it was always going to be a tough ask for the Midlanders in their defence of the crown they won so spectacularly on a memorable day in Croke Park last June.

But despite fielding their strongest team and hoping to get off to a winning start Warwickshire soon found themselves on the back-foot and were 1-6 adrift before they opened their account. Brendan McGarry score the Fermanagh goal and a point, with Shea Curran, Declan McGarry and Sean Corrigan frees keeping the scoreboard ticking over.

But to their credit Warwickshire battled their way back in to contention by outscoring the visitors by 0-8 to 0-3 in the last twenty minutes of the opening period. Warwickshire were also very unlucky not to raise a green flag when goalkeeper Mark Curry brought off a breath-taking save which would have left the hosts just a point adrift at the interval.

Good third quarter for Exiles

The interval seemed to have had no affect on Warwickshire’s momentum and before long they had sensationally taken the lead and appeared to be heading for a famous victory. But Fermanagh introduced substitute John Duffy and his impact turned the game in the visitors’ favour.

Returning to action after a second cruciate knee rehabilitation, the Lisbellaw clubman caused havoc and when a penalty was awarded for a foul on Declan McGarry, Duffy rattled the ball to the net to put his side three to the good.

For the remainder of the match, Fermanagh played with two sweepers and on the counter-attack picked off the insurance points to condemn Warwickshire to a disappointing defeat. Manager Paddy Hoey must now pick his team up ahead of their trip to Longford this weekend.

Longford defeated Leitrim in their opening round match and so Warwickshire will need to win both of their games on the road beginning with Longford this Saturday and followed by a trip to Carrick on Shannon on the following Saturday if they have any chance of a return to Croke Park on June 7.