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Fermanagh and Armagh ready to serve up a storming Ulster derby

 

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Class act: Jamie Clarke (right) came to Armagh’s rescue last time out with a crucial late goal

Class act: Jamie Clarke (right) came to Armagh’s rescue last time out with a crucial late goal

Class act: Jamie Clarke (right) came to Armagh’s rescue last time out with a crucial late goal

It's a remarkable fact, but as fierce as Storm Jorge was, only one game in the National Leagues was postponed, that being the Division Two meeting of Fermanagh and Armagh that now takes place in Brewster Park tonight at 7pm.

Only two points separates second place from second bottom in this tightest of divisions.

In the last game, Armagh rescued a point with a late Jamie Clarke goal after a bit of a second half collapse away to Westmeath having put together a strong opening to the game.

That was enough to push them out of the promotion slots, though Kieran McGeeney's men have a chance to go top of the league again with this game in hand.

For Fermanagh manager Ryan McMenamin, his team have been unlucky not to get more out of their four games to date. But they need to get points on the board with Kildare having turned over Laois in a shock result last weekend.

It has been interesting to note the comments coming out of both camps. Last year, Armagh met Fermanagh at roughly the same stage when roles were reversed with promotion to Division One a distinct possibility for Fermanagh and Armagh eyeing relegation.

On the day, Armagh mirrored Fermanagh's defensive style and - with Jarlath Óg Burns outstanding - did it a whole lot better.

Fermanagh have altered their style significantly since, pushing high up the field and looking to attack differently, but Armagh selector Jim McCorry has said he expects them to revert to type in their meeting.

Moving onto hurling and a number of Ulster sides are on the hunt this weekend.

Armagh and Donegal will be contesting a Division 3A final, hosted by Tyrone club Eire Óg Carrickmore.

Donegal, managed by Mickey McCann, came down from Division 2B last year and Armagh got the better of them on the first day of the league, Padraig O'Connor's team winning 2-17 to 0-15.

Since then, Donegal have rallied and beaten Tyrone, Longford, Monaghan and Louth as expected.

Armagh have been bolstered by the inclusion of former Derry hurler Ruairi Convery in their playing panel this year after he coached them last season. The move has not gone down well in some quarters, but his experience and quality is still unquestioned.

Derry reached the Division 2B final last year when they met Wicklow. They were defeated on one of the coldest days known to man - at least for those unfortunate souls that happened to be in Inniskeen for the decider.

They have gone four wins from their opening four games in the league this season and have Kildare coming to Celtic Park tomorrow. Should the Oak Leafers win, it would set up a final against Down, who have already beaten the Lilywhites this season.

Finally, Fermanagh have a very outside chance of making the Division 3B final when they host Sligo in Brewster Park tomorrow.

However, it is the closest thing to an impossibility as they need to beat the Connacht side by 19 points to jump from bottom place to second. Given their form in recent weeks, it isn't likely to happen.

The Ulster Under-21 Club Championship gets underway this weekend.

It begins at noon tomorrow with the meeting of Clann Eireann of Armagh and Monaghan side Latton.

Antrim champions St Brigid's will have something of an unusual derby-type game, when they face Down champions Carryduff, who have made a real name for themselves in provincial underage tournaments over the last few years and if they have access to county players, could be a threat.

The final game is between two of the strongest teams in the tournament - Tyrone's Carrickmore and St Eunan's of Letterkenny.

Belfast Telegraph