Fermanagh, favourites for relegation among many tipsters at the outset, are now only one win away from a Division 1 berth after a three point win over Clare in Brewster Park.

This was a thoroughly deserved win for Rory Gallagher’s men with a strong third quarter the basis for this important victory that inches them that bit closer to potentially earning Division 1 football next year. 

Fermanagh just about deserved their narrow 0-07 to 0-06 half-time lead - after an opening 35 in which they were denied a certain goal by the brilliance of Clare keeper Pierce De Loughrey who turned Ryan Lyons point-blank shot around the post.

The hosts enjoyed a bright start and moved into a 0-2 to 0-0 lead through points from Sean Quigley and Declan McCusker.

It took Clare 11 minutes to get off the mark and they did so through the impressive Kieran Malone and Conor Finucane.

That set the pattern for a tense first half where the sides were level on four occasions.

Fermanagh set up defensively but attacked in numbers, playing a high energy game which has so far paid dividends in this league campaign.

The winners moved up a few gears in the third quarter and points from Sean Quigley and Declan McCusker gave them a two-point advantage.

This was followed by a superb effort from the busy Ciaran Corrigan with the outside of the boot.

But Clare will rue the departure of Jamie Malone to a black card ten minutes from time in a carbon copy of what happened to Donegal last week.

Clare threw Gary Brennan on the edge of square but they hit six wides as the well-organised Fermanagh defence held firm.

This win now means the Erne County is in sight of Division One football for the first time since 2007.

Armagh await the victors in a fortnight's time while relegation threatened Clare must host table toppers Meath on the same weekend.  

Fermanagh: T Treacy; J Cassidy, L Cullen, K Connor; U Kelm, J McMahon, C Corrigan (0-01); C Cullen (24) (0-01) R Jones (0-01); R Lyons, D McCusker (0-01) A Breen (0-01); K McDonnell (0-01) C Jones, S Quigley (0-06, 0-06f)

Subs: P McCusker for K McDonnell (30), E Donnelly for J Cassidy (47), D Teague for C Jones (55), D McGurn for P McCusker (67), E McHugh for A Breen (70),

Clare: P De Loughrey; K Harnett, C Brennan, G Kelly; Dean Ryan, A Fitzgerald, C O’Dea; G Brennan (0-01, 0-01f) C O’Connor; K Malone (0-02) S Collins, J Malone (0-01); E Cleary (0-01) D Tubridy (0-02, 0-02f) C Finucane (0-01)

Subs: S O’Donoghue (0-1) for C O’Connor, (50), G O’Brien for C Finucane (56)

Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo)