Fermanagh focused for famous win

Rory Porteous listens intently and with a smile to the Kilkenny coaches.  DP13


Fermanagh v Longford –

Croke Park


Lory Meagher Cup Final


All roads lead to Croke Park for Fermanagh this weekend as the hurlers take on Longford in their quest to land the Lory Meagher Cup. It is familiar territory for both teams. In 2012 Fermanagh lost the final to Tyrone while last season Longford lost out to Warwickshire in the decider. Somebody is going to be disappointed on Saturday and from all previous meetings between the sides the indication is that it is far too close to call.

The sides met in the last game of the group stages of this years Lory meagre Cu but with both teams already through to the final the game was something of a shadow boxing exercise that ended in a rather apt draw.

Earlier in the year a much more full blooded affair took place in the league and Fermanagh returned home from Longford with a crucial two points on a scoreline of 2-08 to 0-13 after a battling display.

Fermanagh will be without their vice captain Eoin Mahon for this encounter. Mahon had missed the start of the Lory Meagher campaign with a hamstring injury and now a broken wrist sustained at training last week has ruled him out of the final.

Full back Eoin Morrissey is another injury worry but the Fermanagh management are hopeful that he will be fit for Croke Park. Morrissey has been immense to date in that full back line and would be a huge blow were he not to be available for selection. Elsewhere in the Fermanagh defence captain Mark Slevin and Matthew Teague have been very dominant in the half back line. The midfield duo has altered throughout the league but Ryan Bogue has been an ever present and added experience and guile to the position. Further up field Sean Corrigan, Declan McGarry and Ciaran Corrigan have been on top form in the full forward line. The pace and precision of the Corrigan brothers act as the perfect foil to the strong, physical McGarry who also possesses a deft touch and an eye for goal. Meanwhile the return of John Duffy to the fold has been a real boost to the side. Duffy has had two cruciate ligament tears and is still working his way back to full fitness but has proved in cameos against both Leitrim and Warwickshire that he has the potential to the match winner on Sunday for the Erne men.

The Fermanagh forwards will have to be at their best if they are to get the better of a very mean Longford defence. They kept Leitrim to nine points in their first Lory Meagher Cup game and Warwickshire to only four. However only four of the Warwickshire side who beat Longford in the final last year travelled across the water this season.

Up front the Leinster men have a real share shooter in the shape of Eoin Donnellan who has been racking up big scores throughout the season while Joe O’Brien is perhaps their most dangerous forward from open play.

The game will likely come down to what team will deal with the occasion the best. Longford were very poor in last years final and simply never turned up for the fight. Fermanagh on the other hand have acquitted themselves well in both previous visits to Croke Park in recent years. They lost a league game by five points to Fingal while the Red Hands saw them off in extra time in the Lory Meagher final in 2012. Fermanagh have performed better in Croker than Longford and if they continue in this vein they may just succeed in claiming a famous win at headquarters.