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Fermanagh

Jones impatient for Tir Chonaill clash

As an attacker, confidence is key. And anyone who has ever seen Callum Jones play would never describe him as a man lacking in confidence.
Donegal have now firmly established themselves as one the underage heavyweights in Ulster. However this Fermanagh u20 team go into this game with rather more positivity around them than has been case in recent years.
Enniskillen Gaels claimed the minor Ulster Championship on New Year’s Day 2018. St Michael’s Enniskillen swept to MacRory and Hogan Cup success this year. There’s a generation of players coming through here who know what it takes to get success.
Jones was a free-wheeling attacker in that Enniskillen Gaels Ulster triumph and he has since graduated to the county’s senior ranks. Donegal might be coming to Brewster Park as warm favourites, but he believes Fermanagh have the equipment to lay down a serious marker on Friday evening.
“We fancy ourselves, we know it’s going to be a tough game, but we think we have the players to win it. We are confident in ourselves
“We have top class players across the pitch. We have every man putting it in and working together to make other players better.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play in very good teams. Any team I’ve been on every man has been putting it in. It’s just the same with this team and hopefully we’ll get the job done.”
Fermanagh manager Ollie Fay will have five members of Rory Gallagher’s panel to avail of against Donegal. Jones believes that exposure to senior football will really stand to the Erne men.
“We have been training hard with the seniors and I feel, and the other boys feel that we have made ourselves better by going up to the seniors. We’re stronger and fitter and hopefully that’ll help with the u20s.
“Those [senior] boys are top class defenders and they’re very strong. That makes you better as a player getting that sort of experience. You’re learning every time you go out in a session.”
It’s the depth to this Fermanagh panel which really differentiates it from u20 teams of recent years. Jones sat out Enniskillen Gaels win over Roslea in Shamrock Park last weekend as he protected a slight ankle knock, but he assures us he’ll be raring to go on Friday. The Gaels attacking ace says Ollie Fay is going to have his work cut out picking a team for the Donegal clash.
“There’s over 30 in the squad and I feel like every man has a chance of getting on the team. Every man is pushing each other as hard as they can. There’s boys who haven’t been on the seniors or on the Hogan [Cup team] who have been on the u20s all year and they are pushing everyone else on too. There’s some very good footballers there and I feel the squad as whole is a very good one.”
Fermanagh may be quietly confident, but they will need to make every advantage count against fancied opposition. Donegal played Tyrone in Brewster during the Philly McGuinness cup pre-season games, but Jones believes Fermanagh’s familiarity with the ground will be a major asset.
“The home advantage is massive for us I think. All of us have played in Brewster plenty of times. We know it inside out.
“Hopefully Donegal will not like coming down here and we’ll get in their faces and put them back straight away.”

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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