Leitrim's hurlers began life under the managerial reign of Olcan Conway with a slender defeat in Enniskillen yesterday as Fermanagh began their National Hurling League Division 3B campaign with a two point win.
The traffic chaos in Enniskillen led to the game being delayed by 15 minutes and also the bizarre situation of the standby referee, Gavin Quilty taking charge at the beginning, only to be replaced by Thomas Gleeson when he arrived eight minutes after the game had commenced.
The opening exchanges proved to be tight and competitive with the sides level at two points apiece before Leitrim took the lead for the first time in the 12th minute when Jamie Ward scored an excellent point from a difficult angle.
Unfortunately that lead would be short lived as Fermanagh took control of proceedings.
Three pointed frees in quick succession from the deadly accurate John Duffy were followed by a Tom Keenan point.
A John Duffy pointed free was cancelled out by a fine effort from Leitrim's Martin Feeney but in the closing stages of the half disaster struck for Leitrim as Fermanagh struck for two goals in quick succession.
With a minute of the half remaining John Duffy found the Leitrim goal from a penalty after Caolan Duffy was fouled.
Barely a minute later corner forward Tom Keenan beat the Leitrim defence for pace and his mishit shot found its way to the Leitrim goal.
As the ball found its way to the net the other Fermanagh corner forward Caolan Duffy ended up requiring treatment with many supporters demanding action be taken against Leitrim's David McGovern. However, when the dust settled referee Thomas Gleeson issued Duffy with a straight red card.
Trailing 0-4 to 2-7 as the second half got underway, there was a renewed look of determination about Leitrim and within 30 seconds of the restart Gavin O'Hagan had reduced the deficit with an excellent point.
Fermanagh replied with points from a John Duffy free and Shea Curran from long range before Leitrim enjoyed a purple patch that brought them right back into contention.
Six Leitrim points over the next 15 minutes were countered by a solitary Fermanagh score as the deficit was reduced to five points.
Tom Keenan steadied the Fermanagh ship with a good point before Leitrim were dealt a hammer blow when Gavin O'Hagan was shown a straight red card.
Leitrim continued to battle to the end and the gap was reduced to three points when Jamie Ward found the Fermanagh goal.
Six minutes of injury time were signalled and Leitrim reduced the deficit to the minimum with points from Sean Ó Riordáin and Liam Moreton but with the last action of the contest John Duffy made sure of the victory for Fermanagh when he converted a free.
NHL Div 3B, Fermanagh 2-12 v Leitrim 1-13. A two point victory for Fermanagh, a fine start to the league pic.twitter.com/fkPKbDZavD— Fermanagh GAA (@FermanaghGAA) January 26, 2020
Fermanagh: Mark Curry, Dylan Bannon, Mathew Teague, Ciaran Rafferty, Luca McClusker, Francis McBrien, Declan McGarry, Ciaran Duffy, Conor McShea, Shea Curran, Mark Slevin, John Paul McGarry, Tom Keenan, John Duffy, Cailan Duffy. Subs: Rian Ó Buaigh for MacGarry (30 mins), Colum McPhilips for Curry (56 mins), Barry McPhillips for Curran (57 mins), Jimmy Tormey for Slevin (65 mins), Eoin Cleary for Ciaran Duffy (69 mins).
Scorers: John Duffy 1-8 (1 pen, 8f), Tom Keenan 1-2, Mark Slevin and Shea Curran 0-1 each.
Leitrim: Lorcan Donnellan, Michael O'Brien, Cian Ffench, Paul Early, Karl McDermott, Cian Mallon, Martin Feeney, Liam Moreton, Enda Moreton, Peter Poniard, Jamie Ward, Colm Moreton, James McNabola, David McGovern, Gavin O'Hagan. Subs: Niall Kennedy for McNabola (9 mins), Zac Moradi for Poniard (47 mins), Liam Phelan for Mallon (63 mins), Sean Ó Riordáin for Ward (68 mins).
Scorers: Gavin O'Hagan 0-5 (4f), Jamie Ward 1-2, Karl McDermott 0-2, Martin Feeney, Colm Moreton, Enda Moreton and Sean Ó Riordáin (1f) 0-1 each.
Referee: Gavin Quilty (Kilkenny) replaced by Thomas Gleeson (Dublin) after eight minutes.