Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Don't expect Fermanagh to repeat Armagh display of naivety

Fermanagh manager Peter Canavan

I was in the depths of depression leaving Kingspan Breffni Park last month after watching Armagh capitulate to Cavan in the Ulster senior football championship.

Lost in my own thoughts, I was not aware of the figure who had overtaken me until a familiar voice said quietly: "Your team was very naïve today, Joe."

There at my side was Peter Canavan and in one short sentence he had encapsulated the reason for Armagh's downfall.

So you can bet your life that when he sends his Fermanagh side out against the Breffni county on Sunday naivety will not prove one of their shortcomings.

Peter, you can be sure, will have his homework done with a Plan A formulated and a Plan B in his locker to boot.

Sunday's game will throw light on just how far Peter has brought Fermanagh in the time he has been in charge.

Forget about the league, that is history now. The Championship invariably shows all teams in their true colours and this clash with their neighbours will test the mettle of the Ernesiders.

Cavan's morale has been fortified following their win over Armagh though not to the extent that they are totally confident about their chances of coming out on top.

Their manager Terry Hyland has watched his young players blossom in the Under-21 sector and has also observed the growing maturity of his more established foot-soldiers of late.

When Canavan, who I believe has the capacity to become a hugely successful manager, alludes to Armagh's naivety, you can be sure that he is pondering on the amount of freedom that Cavan's inside duo Martin Dunne and Eugene Keating were accorded.

It seems safe to assume that they will not find it so easy to roam around Brewster Park without encountering defensive barricades.

Canavan is much too shrewd to leave avenues to his team's posts unguarded, so it's a fair guess that Cavan will have to work much harder for their scores on this occasion unless I have got things very wrong.

He will set out his stall from the start but defensive resilience will not necessarily be maintained at the expense of attacking flair.

Indeed, this match could be one of the best ties in the Ulster series given the positives that each team will bring to the table. A fascinating midfield battle is in progress, and whichever side can garner possession in the middle third of the park stands a big chance of winning.

But naivety, certainly from a Fermanagh perspective, will not be allowed to infiltrate.

Canavan saw at first hand the disastrous consequences that this flaw had for Armagh.

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