Devenish on top in big Fermanagh local derby


Devenish on top in big Fermanagh local derby
Gerry McLaughlin @dgldemocrat

Devenish brilliantly belied their lowly League position with a great victory over close neighbours Erne Gaels and showed there is nothing like a derby match to make things really democratic.

Devenish . . . . . . . . 0-16

Erne Gaels . . . . . . . 1-12

And you can forget the one point margin, as the mercurial Belleek men converted a last minute penalty from Seamus Ryder to make matters a little more respectable for Maurice McLaughlin’s men before a big crowd in St Mary’s Park.

Referee Fergal Cleary irked the Erne Gaels mentors with some doubtful calls at a period when they led by 0-7 to 0-3, but that was not the main reason they lost this neighbourly battle.

It would have been a grave injustice had gritty Devenish lost as they really stamped their authority on matter in a very one-sided second half where John O’Flanagan, Jason Love and Anthony McGuinness walked tall.

And they also showed greater hunger for the breaks and their kick out strategy was well ahead of that of their fancied opponents.

Erne Gaels led by 0-9 to 0-7 at the interval after a highly entertaining first half where both sides forgot about the blanket defence and we were treated to an entertaining shoot out.

Devenish signalled their early intent with JJ O’Brien opening the Gaels defence as easily as a bag of crisps in the first five minutes.

With a little more confidence, this talented young player could have had two goals as Devenish raced into a 0-3 to 0-0 lead.

It took a nervous and jittery looking Erne Gaels six minutes to respond through the impressive Jack McCann who bears a striking resemblance to his second cousin Rory Gallagher.

That signalled an avalanche of Belleek scores as they attacked at pace and the points flowed from Luke Ryder and Bran Mullin to leave them in front by 0-7 to 0-3 by the 20th minute.

But, a series of frees from John O’Flanagan and Jason Love brought Devenish back to a 0-7 each before Brian Mullin and Seamus Ryder extended the Belleek’s lead to 0-9 to 0-7.

Matters slowed don considerably in the second half as Devenish cleverly crowded midfield and big Jason Love was given the freedom of the park by a lack lustre Gaels defence.

The Gaels could only manage three points in this period while O’Flanagan, Love, Darren Brady and Ruairi Doherty were on the scoreboard for the Blues.

The Gaels threw on long term absentees Dara Keown and Barry McCann, but they made no difference in halting the relentless Devenish Blue tide.

A thoroughly deserved victory for Ballyshannon native Malachy Cullen’s men but his counterpart Maurice McLaughlin will be less than happy with this nervous, choppy performance from the team that has already beaten Derrygonnelly Harps and Roslea this season.

And, Devenish deserves even greater credit for doing it without county stars, Thomas Treacy, Barry Mulrone and Marty O’Brien.

And, they only had the injured Chris O’Brien for the last few minutes.

But the Blues showed that pride in the jersey and knowing who you were and are is the best basis for any victory.

For the Gaels, this could be a wake up call that may or may not be of benefit later in the season.

One major lesson they learned on Saturday evening and that is that it is not the size or the pedigree of the dog than counts, but the size of the fight in the dog.

On that score Devenish won hands down!

Devenish scorers;

Jason Love (0-6, 245, 3f), John O’Flanagan (0-4,3f), J J O’Brien (0-2), Ruairi Doherty (0-1), Terry O’Flanagan (0-1), Darren Brady (0-1), Luke Robinson (0-1).

Erne Gaels scorers;

Luke Ryder (0-5), Seamus Ryder (1-1, pen), Brian Mullin (0-2), Jack McCann (0-2), Gregory McGlone (0-1), Michael Heron (0-1).

Ref: F Cleary (Kinawley)