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Fermanagh keen to get on Down

By Declan Bogue

Fermanagh’s Daryl Keenan has warned his team-mates that a lot of hard work lies ahead if they are to have any hope of upsetting Down at Brewster Park in the first round of the Ulster Championship.

Last weekend’s National League final against Wicklow ended an otherwise excellent campaign on a sour note for the Erne men.

Not only did Wicklow beat them by eight points, but their stout defence, that had coughed up only one goal in the eight matches before the final, was breached twice.

Harry Murphy’s men took advantage of Barry Owens’ absence at full-back to send in high ball that had the rearguard of Niall Bogue, Niall McGovern and Brian Cox in all sorts of bother.

“That’s something we’ll not be happy about,” said the Tempo attacker. “We did ship a lot of scores which as a team collectively we have to take responsibility for that.

“That’s numbers one to fifteen tackling. But we will get back to the training ground and set our sights on Down now.

“Wake-up calls do no harm, but obviously being a final in Croke Park, it’s disappointing not to win the game.

“We’ll be hurting over it, we definitely will be, but we’ll move on, we won’t dwell on it. We have a big four or five weeks ahead of us and we will just get the heads down and work hard.”

Keenan has become one of the main performers for Fermanagh throughout the league, making seven starts and contributing four points throughout.

While he may line out in the attack, his role within the side has been to offer his defence plenty of cover, yet spring forward to offer his support when the likes of Conor Quigley and Barry Mulrone make forays forward.

While Fermanagh may have looked to have been in a good position at half time, they went 25 minutes without scoring in the second half.

Wicklow had jumped six points in front before Paul Ward’s free kick. In light of that, Keenan was keen to attribute a collective responsibility for scoring.

“It’s a team game at the end of the day and everyone’s going to have to hold their hands up, said Keenan.

“We didn’t work the ball out of defence well enough, we didn’t get it in early to the inside line, who were doing a bit of damage in the first half when we got it into them.

“We probably weren’t winning enough around the middle.”

“There were a lot of breaks and we couldn’t get a stranglehold there.

“We’ll take the positives, but obviously there is a learning curve there today.

“We have to get back to training and see what we can work on.”

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