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Fresh faces Reihill and Beacom have given Ernemen hope

Gaelic games

By John Campbell

Prior to the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup competition getting under way, Fermanagh manager Peter McGrath lamented what he felt were potentially serious handicaps that encumbered his side.

The absence of Niall Cassidy and Marty O'Brien because of retirement, Richard O'Callaghan's decision to undertake global travelling and injuries to key forwards Sean Quigley and Ruairi Corrigan contrived to leave McGrath in something of a quandary.

But within the space of 10 days, the Ernesiders have experienced an upsurge in their fortunes that bodes well for an eagerly-awaited semi-final against holders Tyrone at St Tiernach's Park, Clones on Sunday.

Not only have wins over St Mary's and Antrim - admittedly not the highest calibre opposition - secured the team's place in the last four, but newcomers to the side have made a big impact and Quigley's earlier than expected return to action is viewed as a bonus.

McGrath can take considerable heart from the comfortable manner in which Paddy Reihill and Cathal Beacom have adapted to the rigours of inter-county fare.

Reihill was outstanding in Wednesday night's win over Antrim, while Beacom's assured touch suggests that he could become a regular in the side.

And with Quigley lasting almost the entire game and Corrigan expected back in action shortly, the Ernemen's attacking resources will be considerably boosted. Indeed, Sunday's match against a Tyrone side that has suddenly sparked into life after uncharacteristic back-to-back defeats against Armagh in the O'Fiaich Cup final and Cavan in the opening round of the McKenna Cup has fired enthusiasm within the Fermanagh faithful.

Belfast Telegraph

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