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'Croke Park doesn't care about us': Fermanagh manager Ryan McMenamin lashes out

Fermanagh 0-10 Armagh 3-14


Net gain: Aidan Forker celebrates scoring for Armagh

Net gain: Aidan Forker celebrates scoring for Armagh

Net gain: Aidan Forker celebrates scoring for Armagh

Armagh have put themselves firmly back on top of Division Two, and can make it to the top flight this coming weekend if they beat Roscommon in front of their own fans at the Athletic Grounds.

They thumped Ulster rivals Fermanagh, who were a sorry looking side by the end, having lost midfield general Eoin Donnelly to a bang at training midweek, and 2018 All-Star nominee Che Cullen over a knock in the warm-up.

Meanwhile, Armagh's pre-game changes were of an altogether more positive nature with Aidan Nugent coming in to score 1-2, and the return of Jamie Clarke who had the ball in the net in the third minute, his 21st goal in all for Armagh on a night when he was wearing a jersey with number 21.

Erne manager Ryan McMenamin cut a deeply frustrated figure afterwards. While it might be likely that Fermanagh will be playing in the Tier Two Tailteann Cup this summer, he took aim at outgoing GAA President John Horan over the establishment of the competition.

"People wanted the Tier Two and they got the Tier Two," he said.

"To me it was badly thought out. It was rushed and I think it was a job by the President... I think everyone wants to leave a legacy now, that is the dream of everybody.

"The GAA has gone too corporate.

"We all have to look at ourselves. I was out this morning coaching ladies and it was a joy to be out with them. I think the GAA has lost that. I can see as manager of a small county that Croke Park doesn't care about us at the bottom.

"Maybe you are not meant to say that but that is my feeling on it."

The game itself did not provide any such passions.

Armagh took advantage of Donnelly's absence by pressing aggressively on Fermanagh's kickout, winning six of their restarts in the opening half.

With the wind at their backs, it helped them to a 1-8 to 0-3 lead at the break.

Just seven minutes of the second half had elapsed when Aidan Forker had the Fermanagh net bulging again and they were really finished altogether by the time Aidan Nugent made it three on 51 minutes.

Despite the handsome scoreline, it could have been much greater for Armagh as they passed up a series of goal chances towards the end.

Assistant manager Jim McCorry even had the luxury of picking out some faults in the finishing.

"I'd like to think we will have that ruthless edge when it comes to the Championship," he said.

"It's the time you need it most. It's disappointing when you are not putting away those opportunities, especially goal opportunities.

"Having said that, I think we had six wides and five short in that game and two off the post.

"So we are happy to look at the positives of that and we want to reduce the amount of wides, but we still had a good ratio of opportunities took."

Asked if Armagh need to make that leap to Division One and become acclimatised to the biggest teams in football, he played a straight bat.

"It's something in the future. I'd like to think about the present, and next week. And we are not looking much further than that."

There is a local saying that for six months of the year Lough Erne is in Fermanagh, and for the remainder Fermanagh is in Lough Erne. Right now, it's definitely the latter and that made for extremely poor conditions in the refixture postponed from last weekend.

Next week they have a tricky fixture away to Clare before the final day at home to Laois to avoid the dreaded Tier Two.

FERMANAGH: J McGrath; J Cassidy, J Allen, K McDonnell; E Shiels, J McMahon 0-1, Shane McGullion; R Jones 0-2, R O'Callaghan; A Breen 0-1, U Kelm, C Corrigan 0-1; Stephen McGullion 0-1, E McManus 0-4, 3f, D McGurn

Subs: D McCusker for Allen (30m), K Connor for Cassidy, T Corrigan for Shane McGullion (38m), C Jones for O'Callaghan (44m), T Bogue for Stephen McGullion (54m)

ARMAGH: B Hughes; P Burns, B Donaghy, A Forker 1-0; J Óg Burns 0-1, S Sheridan, A Nugent 1-2; N Grimley, O O'Neill 0-3; R Grugan 0-3f, S Campbell, M Shields; J Clarke 1-0, R O'Neill 0-4, 1x'45', R Kennedy

Subs: J Duffy 0-1 for Campbell (54m), E Rafferty 0-1 for Forker (63m), J Morgan for P Burns (63m), G McCabe for Grugan (68m), A McKay for O O'Neill (69m)

Referee: Ciaran Branagan (Down).

Belfast Telegraph