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It's a big ask, but Ulster four can go marching on

By Peter Canavan

Published 11/07/2015

Legend: Kerry's Colm 'Gooch' Cooper lifts the Sam Maguire trophy
Legend: Kerry's Colm 'Gooch' Cooper lifts the Sam Maguire trophy

I suppose we will know how strong we are in the province we claim as the most competitive, with four games involving Ulster teams playing at home over the weekend.

Armagh will be disappointed the way they threw in the towel against Donegal. It was untypical of their manager's fighting spirit when he played and what everybody expects of them.

We hope that they haven't unleashed the cannons too early against Dublin in the recent challenge match when there were fireworks. They will realise that Galway are an up and coming team, they have some exciting young footballers coming through and they are very much a footballing team.

Armagh have yet to find the perfect foil for Jamie Clarke. James O'Donoghue and the Gooch are able to feed off Kieran Donaghy and Armagh should try and find someone to do this as Clarke shouldn't have to go looking for his own ball all the time. With his game intelligence, he would be able to score more goals as a result.

Derry answered serious questions about themselves against Donegal when they put up a very spirited performance.

If they had a little bit more self-belief and composure, they had the winning of the game. What will give Brian McIver and Paddy Tally concern is, can they back this up?

It appears in recent years that once Derry went out of the Ulster Championship, the club becomes more important and the effort in the qualifiers last year was embarrassing.

They have got that side of it sorted out and if they play to anywhere near their true potential, they will win this. Bringing it to Owenbeg is a sensible decision from the point of view that there will be a far better atmosphere.

I don't think Fermanagh players will be caught up with their facile victory over Antrim.

They want to be playing Championship football until August and they now have a great opportunity with a home draw in Brewster Park. They have a fantastic record at home, and with the exception of the Monaghan game they have been finishing strongly.

If Fermanagh can keep it tight at the back, they have good runners coming from that area; in Damian Kelly, a player back in the fold and one I rate highly. Marty O'Brien is a strong runner, Decky McCusker also and they have the option of getting it in long to Sean Quigley, a man in serious form.

No doubt they will analyse the Sligo-Roscommon game where the long diagonal ball caused serious problems for the Roscommon defence. The Rossies also cannot afford to foul Fermanagh from anywhere within 50 metres.

All the games will be tough, tight affairs, but I would expect the four Ulster teams to come through.

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