A pacey Down side eventually steamed clear to record an impressive victory over a weakened Fermanagh side who were missing nine regulars from last year's campaign.

The home side managed to stay with the winners until early in the second half but there was no doubting the visitors superiority over the last 25 minutes.

But a brilliant goal superbly created by Down's inspirational captain Caolan Mooney was the crucial score in this cat and mouse affair on a mild November day surely thieved from summer in Brewster Park.

Caolan Mooney who has recovered from a serious assault last year, cut through the Erne defence on a blistering 50 metre solo run and fed the in-rushing Daniel Guinness.

The Erne defence was skewered, and Guinness could have scored himself but unselfishly transferred the ball to full forward Donal O'Hare who palmed the ball to an empty net.

This happened in the 42nd minuet and the impressive O'Hare had already hit 1-04 by that stage and was promptly rewarded by the bizarre decision to take him off.

He was not injured and Down could have suffered against more formidable opponents but all the fight had gone from the under-strength Erne side who handed championship debuts to diminutive keeper Sean McNally, Luke Flanagan and the impressive Josh Largo Ellis.

O'Hare's goal put the winners into a 1-08 to 0-08 after leading by 0-07 to 0-06 at the break.

Barry O'Hare put them two points up with a great effort from the wing-but Corrigan hit back with two pointed frees to level matters at 0-08 each before that killer the goal.

Down totally dominated the rest of the match as the points flowed from O'Hare, Jerome Johnston, Mooney, subs Ryan Johnston and Corey Johnston.

Caolan Mooney celebrates after scoring a point

Fermanagh failed to score for a further 25 minutes with token scores from Paul McCusker, Conall Jones and Daniel Teague.

But, the winners were never in any danger as they cantered home to an Ulster semi-final date with Cavan next Sunday.

Fermanagh did manage to stay in the game until O'Hare's clinching goal, but were unable to offer any further resistance as the pacey Down forwards ran riot in the final quarter.

Fermanagh settled swiftly and towering centre forward Darragh McGurn swung over a fine point after just two minutes.

Down responded in kind and when the flying Conor Poland was fouled in full flight, full forward Donal O'Hare cooly converting the resultant free.

That set the pattern for a cat and mouse opening half that also saw some fine individual scores from both sides.

And both full-forwards, Fermanagh's Tomas Corrigan and Donal O'Hare of Down, had a bit of a shootout as the half progressed.

Fermanagh edged in front through a fine point from beavering wing forward Ciaran Corrigan but Down hit back with another pointed free from O'Hare after team captain Caolan Mooney was fouled at the first water break.

Mooney was fouled on the resumption after a Down turnover. and O'Hare pointed to put the Mourne men in front.

Fermanagh full-forward Tomas Corrigan took a clever mark from a Corrigan pass and pointed only for O'Hare to strike again, this time from play.

But Corrigan was causing the Down defence major headaches and he hit two points in quick succession, one from a free, and the second a magnificent effort after he shrugged off four tackles and struck confidently over the bar to put Fermanagh ahead by 0-06 to 0-05 eight minutes from the break.

However, that was to be the home side's last point and Down finished the half stronger with two brilliant long- range efforts from Mooney and Barry O'Hagan to put them into a 0-07 to 0-06 half-time lead.

It was just about deserved, but four of their scores came from soft turnovers coughed up by the Erne men.

But they were simply overwhelmed by a rampant Down side, who have forwards like the O'Hagan's and Johnston's who can trouble any side.

Fermanagh: S McNally; J Cassidy, K Connor, L Flanagan; J Largo Ellis, J McMahon, C McManus; R O'Callaghan, E Donnelly; C Corrigan (0-1) D McGurn (0-1) A Breen; S McGullion, T Corrigan (0-65f) D McCusker.

Subs: D Teague (0-1) for A Breen, S Cassidy for R O'Callaghan (h-time), K McDonnell for C McManus (51) R Jones for J McMahon (57), C Jones (0-1) for C Corrigan, P McCusker (0-1) for D McCusker for P McCusker (66).

Black card: T Corrigan (70)

Down: R Burns; P Fegan, P Murdock, P Laverty; G Collins, K McKernan, D Guinness; C Mooney (0-2) J Flynn; B O'Hagan (0-4) P Devlin, C Poland; J Johnston (0-2), D O'Hare (1-43f) C Doherty.

Subs: L Kerr for P Devlin (45), C Quinn (0-1) for D O'Hagan (43), R Johnston (0-2) for C Poland (55), J Guinness for B O'Hagan, C McCartan for K McKernan (66)

Black card: C Poland (60)

Referee: B Cassidy (Derry)