It’s Fermanagh vs Down in the Ulster Championship on Sunday. The winner goes on to play Cavan or Antrim the following week while the loser’s season ends. Both of these teams lost at this stage of the competition last year. Now, they’ll be aiming to make amends and capitalise on the absence of Monaghan in their side of the draw.
It hasn’t been plain sailing for Fermanagh since football returned from its extended absence. Ryan McMenamin’s team were hit with Covid-19 before the League resumed. As a result, a weakened side travelled to Clare where they failed to get a result. Then, Laois beat them in the final round to cement their place at the bottom of Division 2.
Last weekend, the break from action allowed McMenamin a chance to take stock. His players will benefit from the chance to recover after a hectic schedule. When they take to the field on Sunday they will relish the opportunity to remind everyone why they can compete in Ulster. Two years ago they made it to the final. Now, a favourable draw will have Fermanagh tails up.
On the other hand, Down were last in the Ulster final in 2017. But, the last two years haven’t seen the same success.
Like Fermanagh, Down’s return to action hasn’t exactly gone to plan. Firstly, they were awarded a walkover when Leitrim conceded there League game. Paddy Tally would have preferred the game in order to dust off cobwebs. However, it proved to be an important two points for Down. The following week they lost to Louth and still managed to earn promotion.
Sunday’s game is sure to be a nervy one as neither team really knows what to expect going in. In addition, a loss ends the season so Fermanagh and Down will both be cautious about leaving themselves open.
Down are 8/13 favourites to win the game with Paddy Power. Otherwise, Fermanagh are 7/4 and a draw is 13/2.
BBC Northern Ireland are broadcasting the game.
Down : Rory Burns; Peter Fegan, Patrick Murdock, Pierce Laverty; Gerard Collins, Kevin McKernan, Daniel Guinness; Caolan Mooney, Johnny Flynn; Conor Poland, Paul Devlin, Barry O’Hagan; Jerome Johnston, Donal O’Hare, Ceilum Doherty.
Fermanagh : Sean McNally; Jonny Cassidy, Kane Connor, Luke Flanagan; Josh Largo Ellis, James McMahon, Cian McManus; Ryan Jones, Eoin Donnelly; Ciaran Corrigan, Darragh McGurn, Aidan Breen; Stephen McGullion, Tomas Corrigan, Declan McCusker.
Subs: James McGrath, Kevin McDonnell, Danny Teague, Conall Jones, Richard O’Callaghan, Paul McCusker, Eddie Courtney, Ruairi Corrigan, Sean Cassidy, Ryan Breen, Lorcan McStravick.
Ulster Championship Quarter-Final: Fermanagh vs Down, Sunday, November 8th, 13:30 (Brewster Park).
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