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Fermanagh are primed for tough road ahead, says McGrath

By John Campbell

Published 06/05/2016

Looking up: Peter McGrath says the Ernemen have reason for optimism
Looking up: Peter McGrath says the Ernemen have reason for optimism

Fermanagh manager Peter McGrath is hoping that the fiercely-contested matches in which his side were engaged prior to retaining their Division Two status in the Allianz League will now stand them in good stead for the Ulster Championship.

The Ernesiders finished their campaign on a high by drawing with Galway and Tyrone and it's those results as much as anything else which will now help to bolster the team's bid to win the provincial title for the first time.

"Our last league game against Tyrone brought us a very important result in the form of a draw following what was a good team performance. By the time we face Antrim on Sunday week, it will be a five-week term since we played Mickey Harte's side and in that period we have managed to do quite a lot of useful work," revealed McGrath.

"We are more than happy with our league campaign. The boys are optimistic and very determined to build on the bit of progress last year."

It was back in August that McGrath's men were involved in one of the most colourful games of the year when they lost to Dublin in the All-Ireland quarter-finals by 2-23 to 2-15 with burly full-forward Sean Quigley forcing renowned goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton over the line while he had the ball in his hands for one of the Ulster side's goals.

But for the moment, McGrath has Antrim very firmly in his sights.

"Because we have met Antrim so often lately, there are no secrets between the sides. They have got out of Division Four which they have been trying to do in recent years and now that they have succeeded, they are going into the Ulster Championship confident and optimistic and why wouldn't they be?" said McGrath.

"They will represent a severe challenge for us. It's up to the players to show that they have benefited from all the good experiences and tough matches they had in the league now in the Championship."

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