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Fermanagh boss Peter McGrath confident Armagh can be mastered

By Declan Bogue

Mention a game played almost 11 years ago, and Fermanagh manager Peter McGrath can't betray his origins.

The 2004 All-Ireland quarter-final between Armagh and Fermanagh was expected to be a box to be ticked by the Orchard men, but instead they fell on a day when the Erne County bust the banks of Croke Park stewards and celebrated on the pitch.

"Yes, yes, we were all cheering for Fermanagh that day," says McGrath, a man who lived the fierce Down-Armagh rivalry for decades as player and manager.

Now as Fermanagh manager, he knows how his adopted county have been looking at orange jerseys on their very biggest days; the Ulster final of 1982, the drawn final and replay of 2008, and that famous quarter-final.

But he is quick to point out that it should have no relevance as the two gear up for tomorrow night's Division Three clash with their 100% records at stake after three wins each.

"Things have changed, I don't know if there are any survivors apart from Ryan McCluskey (Armagh still have one however, in Andy Mallon)," he said.

"It's completely two new sets of players and I don't think that will have a bearing. It's two valuable points."

The two Ulster teams heading up Division Three began their campaigns with varying levels of expectation.

Armagh were shocked to find themselves relegated to the third tier at the end of last year's campaign and have gone from a side that featured twice in Saturday night Setanta games to relative obscurity, a scenario you suspect manager Kieran McGeeney may find more appealing in the short term.

They enjoyed a somewhat fortuitous result on the opening day against Tipperary but have since built up a head of steam with thumping wins over Wexford and Limerick, both games away.

Fermanagh meanwhile hammered Louth by nine points on the opening day, before squeezing wins against Sligo away and Tipperary at home.

"It is going to be a critical, critical game needless to say, and it is one we are looking forward to. It's the type of game you want to be challenging yourself to go into and really do well," explained the two-time All-Ireland winning manager.

"Armagh will realise that we represent a challenge and they represent a challenge to us. So it should be a very revealing game.

"I wouldn't fear anyone, and that's not to disrespect Armagh or anybody else. You must believe in your own team, they will believe in themselves.

"You respect the other team for what they are, but there is no question of feeling intimidated or going in as a second-class citizen."

TYRONE (v Dublin): N Morgan; A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron; R McNabb, Justin McMahon, P Harte; P McNulty, C Cavanagh; T McCann, M Donnelly, B Tierney; D McCurry, S Cavanagh (C), C McAliskey

DERRY (v Mayo, NFL): E McNicholl; O Duffy, N Holly, D McBride; B Óg McAlary, K Johnston, SL McGoldrick; M Craig, B Óg McGilligan; C McWilliams, M Lynch (C), E Lynn; D McKinless, B Heron, A McAlynn

DERRY (v Carlow, NHL): B Robinson; S McCullagh, C Quinn, A Rafferty; C McSorley, P Kelly, K Hinphey; N Ferris, R Leonard; R Convery, L Óg Hinphey, P McCloskey; A Grant, M Conway, B Douban

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