There was more late heartbreak from the Fermanagh Premiers, as Rhyss Campbell struck deep into injury time to seal a second narrow defeat for Darren Higginbotham’s men in less than 24 hours. After an evenly contested first half, Fermanagh were hit with a sucker punch in the early stages of the second period, conceding two goals in four minutes from Dylan O’Hagan and Arnas Irzikevicus. They replied with a goal in the 43rd minute from Jacob Britton, to reduce the deficit. After a hard fought last half hour and Fermanagh pushing for an equaliser, Campbell tapped home after a quick break to seal all three points for Tyrone.
Higginbotham made four changes from the side that faced Newcastle: Alex Holder, Ronan Beattie, Josh McKenna and Scott Johnston all coming into the starting XI. It was a hotly contested first half, both teams were pumped up for the big local derby. There was never much between the sides, with both teams exerting periods of pressure.
Eoin Beacom’s long throws were a constant threat throughout and it was from one of his throw’s that the first chance of the game came. The ball eventually found its way to Brandon Horan, who saw his effort deflect wide for a corner. Caolan Ward, who worked tirelessly up front for Fermanagh throughout, cut in following a Ronan Beattie cross, but Tyrone shot stopper Joel Peden was equal to it.
Alex Carolan and Andy Scott were constant threats down the Tyrone wide areas. Carolan and Scott both saw efforts go wide in the first half, whilst a couple of Nathan Sherry headers also failed to trouble Fermanagh goalkeeper Josh Brownlee.
If the first half was a quiet affair, the start of the second half was quite the opposite. Sherry curled an early effort wide for Tyrone and were in front on the 38th minute. The ball was played up to substitute Dylan O’Hagan, who rifled a powerful effort beyond Brownlee and into the net to break the deadlock.
Brownlee was forced into action soon after, pulling up an excellent low save from Andy Scott, following good Tyrone work down the right. It wasn’t long until the scoreline was increased. Daniel Courtney put in an inch perfect cross from wide left, which striker Arnas Irzikevicus got onto the end of and headed into the net.
However the deficit was soon halved, as Fermanagh wasted no time in getting back into the game. A scramble in the penalty area eventually resulted in Jacob Britton slotting home beyond Peden. Fermanagh had their tails up now and Britton flashed another effort across the Tyrone goal.
The match was a real battle, with both sides trading blows and it soon returned to a tight, close, even affair. The wet conditions didn’t help, with both sides struggling to contend with a slippery surface. Tyrone just edged it in the chances department; O’Hagan with a wide effort from distance. Niall Owens had a go from the edge of the area after a Seanie Mahon run, but Peden smothered any danger.
With time running out, Fermanagh brought everyone forward in search of an equaliser, as Josh Brownlee launched a couple of free-kicks on top of the Tyrone defence. But it wasn’t to be and Tyrone broke with O’Hagan, who ran into the abandoned Fermanagh penalty area and played the ball across to Rhyss Campbell, who tapped home to seal the bragging rights for Eamon Curry’s men.