Fermanagh aiming to blaze trail to Ulster glory, reveals Barry Mulrone
Fermanagh defender Barry Mulrone refuses to shy away from his manager Pete McGrath's assertions that an Ulster title is within the capabilities of this present group of Ernemen.
The Devenish clubman was his typical bustling self in their at times facile win over Antrim, and while he holds forthcoming quarter-final opponents Donegal in the height of respect, he believes Fermanagh are now forging their own strong identity.
"We feel that progress would be to go on and get to an Ulster final and win an Ulster title. That's what the team needs. We are an up and coming team, there are only a couple of older boys over 30, the majority of the team are in their 20s," said the centre-back.
"I think if we are going to progress and get to the next level, that's where we realistically need to get. That's the Ulster title, that's the Holy Grail and that's what we are aspiring to.
"We have talked about it, but again, we go about it a game at a time."
Observers of Fermanagh's evolution in style have drawn comparisons with elements of Donegal, but Mulrone is keen for his side to be at the forefront of tactical innovation and cause a stir among the coaching fraternity.
"We are at a stage in this team now where we want people to be talking about Fermanagh and how Fermanagh play. We want teams to copy us instead of being compared to being defensive like Donegal or attacking like Tyrone," he stated.
"We want to put our own brand on it; how Fermanagh defend, how Fermanagh attack. We want people talking about our own situation, not saying that we are maybe as good as Donegal, maybe as good as Tyrone. We want people saying that Fermanagh are the team and hopefully we can strive to do that."
For now, they have Ballybofey to look forward to on June 12. Talk of a Donegal team on the slide will be banished from Fermanagh minds before that, insists Mulrone.
"You can't really say that about any Donegal team. They have been the kings of Ulster football for the last three or four years," he added.
"Rory (Gallagher) is a sly dog, he will know how to get them going. There are people saying the likes of Colm McFadden are done, but they are class acts. They are always going to be a threat."
Under Jim McGuinness and now Rory Gallagher, Donegal have not been beaten on their home patch since a defeat to Down in 2010.
McGrath feels Fermanagh have nothing to worry about, although he believes that the stiffer challenge of Donegal will raise their own game a level or two.
"I don't think you can allow yourself to be intimidated by the ground or the venue," McGrath stated.
"It's about getting your own house in order, getting your own players right and picking through the debris of that second-half (in the win against Antrim) and trying to come to terms with what went wrong in that period."