Liam Bradley has every reason to be grateful that Brendan Herron recently decided to turn his back on hurling and throw in his lot with the Antrim football team.
Since teaming up with Michael McCann in the midfield sector at the start of the year, the imposing Herron has been a revelation — so much so indeed that manager Bradley even at this early stage finds his team contemplating possible promotion from Division Three.
Bradley’s good fortune in the central area is in sharp contrast to the ill-luck which again robs Fermanagh boss Malachy O’Rourke of the considerable skills of his engine-room anchor man Martin McGrath for tomorrow night’s Casement Park clash.
McGrath is still plagued by tendonitis and it may be some weeks before he is back in action. On the credit side, though, Ryan Jones has been making an impact an impact for the Ernesiders who were rather fortunate to overcome Roscommon by a point in their last outing having fallen to Offaly in their opening encounter.
Just how Jones will fare against Herron remains to be seen although he will have his skipper James Sherry alongside him for what will be an interesting battle.
Should Fermanagh find the Antrim midfield machinery in overdrive, Ryan Carson may well be withdrawn from the attack in which he has been in fine form lately and deposited in a holding role. Newtownbutler clubman Carson scored a vital goal against Roscommon and has been proving a valuable target man.
Ciaran Flaherty’s work-rate in the half-forward division has been a Fermanagh plus-factor to date but manager O’Rourke is aware that a concerted input from his attack is essential if Antrim, who have lost only once this year, are to be halted.
Michael Magill will again form the fulcrum of the home attack with the free-scoring Paddy Cunningham alongside him and the lively Tomas McCann likely to continue to thrive at centre-threequarters and James Loughrey is destined to remain at wing-forward.