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Ernemen sweat over fitness of star duo ahead of Ulster push

By John Campbell

Fermanagh are in danger of losing two key players for Sunday week's Ulster Senior Football Championship qualifier against Antrim at Brewster Park, Enniskillen.

Skipper Eoin Donnelly - also the Ulster inter-provincial captain - has a hamstring injury while full-back Che Cullen is nursing a broken thumb. Both were outstanding during the Allianz League when the Ernemen cemented their place in Division Two chiefly through the draws against Galway and Tyrone.

The potential double loss could impact the central spine of a team which has never won the Championship but has gained renewed status since Peter McGrath took the reins.

Donnelly also missed the quarter-final match against Antrim last year in which Fermanagh came out on top. McGrath has been optimistic that the side can impose themselves in the provincial series but to do so must have all their front line players.

Veteran Niall Cassidy (34), who missed the last league game against Tyrone through suspension, could step into the breach should Cullen be ruled out while Martin O'Brien is also in the running. But it's in formulating his midfield in the possible absence of Donnelly that McGrath will really have to don his thinking cap.

Ryan Jones looks certain to get one of the berths while Damien Kelly and Conal Jones are front runners for the other position.

Richard O'Callaghan is lacking match practice and is unlikely to be risked. On a more positive note, there is added versatility within the side that could stand them in good stead.

Belfast Telegraph


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