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Boost for Fermanagh can help revive fortune: Jackman

By John Campbell

Fermanagh minor football team boss Niall Jackman hopes to find himself in an unusual position tomorrow.

During the recent Ulster League, Jackman was unable to field anything approaching what he considered to be a full-strength side, a factor which militated against his county's progress in the competition.

But when the young Ernesiders step out against Antrim in the Ulster Championship quarter-final at Brewster Park, Enniskillen, Jackman is convinced that his much more familiar line-up will be capable of meeting the challenge posed by their visitors.

"Lately we have not been able to field a full team and that has not helped us," admits Jackman.

"But I think that we will see a different team in more senses than one.

"The boys have been putting in an awful lot of hard work in training and I hope that this will be reflected in their performance," adds Jackman.

His team's displays to date may have been erratic but Jackman is encouraged by the consistent form shown by several key players.

He believes that Shane Mimagh, Conor McAuley, Shane Rooney and Matthew McGrade in particular can step up to the plate to inspire their colleagues against an Antrim outfit that also failed to find any real degree of rhythm in the Ulster League.

The management team of Sean McGoldrick and Niall Ward have since addressed what they believe to be shortcomings and are hopeful that the side will show more cohesion and flair tomorrow.

Antrim have hinted in recent seasons that they might be able to deliver at under-age level but so far this promise has not been translated into reality.

Donal Nugent and Oran Eastwood are among the players who can help to make the side as a whole tick tomorrow although their defence can be fragile at times and this leaves them vulnerable to counter-attacks.

The management duo will still put the emphasis on an attacking spirit but will also seek to ensure that scores are not conceded too easily.

Antrim's pace and lively work-rate certainly auger well for their chances but Jackman's ability to get the best out of the hosts might influence the outcome to a huge extent.

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