Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Dr McKenna Cup: We’ll have to go and Erne it, says Fermanagh star O’Neill

Fermanagh manager John O’Neill has taken on board the frustration expressed by his Donegal counterpart Jim McGuinness in relation to his own decimated squad.

But he is still convinced that the Ernesiders will face a stiff challenge in the Barrett Sports Lighting Dr McKenna Cup in Ballybofey tomorrow night.

“Donegal seem to have their problems with player availability but we have our own concerns.

“I have no doubt when they get us up there they will be fired up. For our part we would like to get our first win of the season if we can,” insists O’Neill.

He has watched his side draw with UUJ and fall to Tyrone, and while he had hoped to have more than one point at this stage, he is prepared to dwell on the positives that have emerged.

“We have some new guys like Tómas Corrigan who have come in and done well and it’s great to see Barry Owens back to his best form at full-back. We have other people still to come in and it’s very important now that we get a settled line-up for the National League,” says O’Neill.

His largely untried team certainly showed character in coming back to force a draw against UUJ after having been in arrears and they stayed on Tyrone’s shoulder for a considerable period of Wednesday night’s game.

“But we need to play consistently for the duration of a game. If we can manage that tomorrow night, then we will be in with a chance,” says O’Neill.

Despite McGuinness’s lamentations about his depleted squad, it is reasonable to assume that the Ernesiders’ rearguard will be tested by a home forward division that will include Dermot ‘Brick’ Molloy, Adrian Hanlon and Leo McLoone.

With Karl Lacey and Frank McGlynn shoring up their defence, Donegal are unlikely to yield too much.

The north west county still have an outside chance of perhaps claiming a semi-final slot but they will need to overcome Fermanagh by a handsome margin if they are to have any chance of achieving this.

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