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Fermanagh continue NHL build-up

Fermanagh's Francis McBrien drives out against Donegal.

Fermanagh’s Francis McBrien drives out against Donegal.

Donegal     2-21
Fermanagh     2-8

Fermanagh’s hurlers travelled to Ballyshannon on Sunday to take on Donegal in preparation for the visit of Fingal to Enniskillen in three weeks time.

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The Erne men were down Portaferry’s Kevin McGarry and 11 other panelists, giving the side a youthful complexion. Meanwhile Donegal were short about five of their regulars including Joe Boyle and Danny Cullen.

Fermanagh trailed by 1-8 to 0-6 at half-time having played with the aid of the hill and the strong breeze.

With both sides using plenty of substitutes Fermanagh got a couple of goals, the first when a long range free from Brian McLaughlin, a Dublin import and son of former Fermanagh football goalkeeper Liam, seemed to go all the way to the net. Fermanagh’s best player John Duffy finished the second ten minutes from the end.
Fermanagh co-manager John Duffy took the positives from the performance.

“Donegal have been training from November and we’re only back three weeks now, so their fitness is obviously going to be ahead of us,” said Duffy.

“Plus the fact we’re a long way short on numbers there today. It gave young lads a chance to impress and a lot of them put their names forward. Davy Teague, Conor McShea, Dave McGorman, when we are back at full strength those boys are going to make it difficult for us to make decisions because they showed up terrible well today.

“The conditions weren’t conducive to good hurling, but we’re training hard under Ryan Hanna.

“Ryan has been with the boys three weeks and fitness is improving. We’re short 12 of our panel today and it told against us, but the boys are putting in a massive effort under Ryan.

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“We’re concentrating on Fingal now in three weeks and we’re looking to start the league off with two points in Brewster Park. We’ll hopefully have another challenge next week.

“Longford is one possibility but we’re hoping to get another game before we start the league. We’re happy, we’ve a good squad of 32 and they’re training well, Belfast boys included so we’re on the right track despite getting beat there today.”

But when it comes to goals for the year, there is no doubt where Fermanagh’s focus lies this season.

“We’ve been beat twice in two Lory Meagher finals and our aim is to be back in the first week of June in another Lory Meagher final.

“That’s our main aim, that and staying in the division and avoiding relegation. If you win your first you could be on the way to a league final, if you lose your first game you could be in a relegation battle,” said Duffy.

TEAMS

Donegal: Paul Burns; Michael McGrath, Padraig Doherty, Mark Callaghan; Johnny Downey, Jamsie Donnelly, Niall Cleary; Paul Sheridan, Ronan McDermott (0-1); Enda McDermott (0-1), Lee Henderson (0-12, 12f), Ciaran Mathewson (0-3); Bernard Lafferty, Kevin Campbell (1-1), Eddie Lynch.
Subs: Ciaran Kilgallon for Campbell 31; Sean Curran (0-1) for Lafferty 42; Stephen Gillespie (1-0) for Mathewson 49; Dara Grant (0-1) for McGrath 51; Donal Og McLaughlin for P Doherty 54; Kyle McGrath for Sheridan 55; Kevin Meehin (0-1) for R McDermott, Jack Mathews for Jamsie Donnelly 56; Padraig Doherty for Lynch 60.

Fermanagh: M Corry; F Bannon, K Kehoe, D McGorman; A Breslin, M Teague, D Teague; F McBrien (0-1), J Duffy (1-3, 2f); P McGoldrick (0-3,3f), T Cleary (0-1), B McLaughlin (1-0 f); C Curran, JP McGarry, C O’Shea.
Subs: C McTeague for McBrien 18; J Gavin for M Teague; O Russell for Curran 55; C Curran for Duffy 67.

Referee: Aidan Ferguson (Erne Gaels)

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA