Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

McCabe keen to grab bigger prize for Fermanagh

Shane McCabe may have seen red when he played with Glentoran against Metalurgs in Europe on Thursday night.

But the only colour that will interest him at Croke Park tomorrow is the colour of success.

McCabe returns there with a Fermanagh side desperately anxious to re-enter the All Ireland Championship race at the expense of Kildare.

Depression and anguish may have been the order of the day when the Ernesiders capitulated to Armagh in last Sunday’s Ulster final replay but the presence of McCabe on the bench again - manager Malachy O’Rourke has named an unchanged side - is a further boost for the squad after it had originally been indicated that he might not be made available.

County PRO Deirdre Donnelly has confirmed that they will be up for battle at Headquarters tomorrow.

“In a sense, it is perhaps a bonus that this game is coming up so quickly, It means that the boys have had to re-focus sharply and the fact that they will be playing in Croke Park has provided them with an extra incentive in the build-up to the game,” says Donnelly.

Four years ago, Fermanagh made Headquarters a home from home as they scurriedthrough the qualifiers before losing out to Mayo after an semi-final replay.

The manner in which they slotted in comfortably on the wide open spaces helped to provide the momentum that took them tantalisingly close to a place in the All Ireland final.

Now the spirit and optimism that prevailed then has been rekindled despite the heartbreak endured at Clones last Sunday.

“Obviously everyone was gutted by that defeat to Armagh but we certainly have not become a bad team overnight.

“We have lost very, very few matches this year so we have no reason to fear Kildare,” points out Donnelly.

Kieran McGeeney has taken Kildare to qualifier wins over Cavan and Limerick to date but knows that Fermanagh will be a rather different kettle of fish.

“They are a very hard-working, committed side with a lot of quality players. They will relish the chance to regain credibility after the Ulster final so we have to have our guard up,” says McGeeney.

John Doyle is the ace in the Kildare pack but Fermanagh’s all-round pace, industry and undoubted finishing skills - they may not quite have been in evidence last Sunday - should carry them through to the last eight.

And that will fuel the notion that the Ernesiders could perhaps go a step further than ‘04.

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