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Fermanagh supremo Peter Canavan will reflect on a dose of blues

By Ryan McMenamin

Living so close to Fermanagh, I know from talking to a lot of their supporters that they travelled to Breffni Park at the weekend confident that they could reverse their Ulster championship defeat at the hands of Cavan and they will be disappointed that didn't happen.

Getting Sean Quigley sent off in the first-half was a blow and by the break the game was already slipping away from them.

Martin Dunne got an early goal for Cavan and that sent them on their way.

He was marked out of it against Monaghan and had to be taken off but this time they were keen to get him into the game early and it worked.

The second-half was all about keeping Fermanagh at arm's length, Cavan managing comfortably to do so, and there is no doubt that home advantage played a key part in their win.

I know that Peter (Canavan) has taken the job for three years and while they have made progress in the league in his first two seasons he will be disappointed with their championship.

At the end of the day, it's all about what happens in the championship and there is no doubt that they will feel they left it behind in their Ulster quarter-final. You can't go almost half an hour without scoring at that level and expect to win the game.

Cavan on the other hand continue to learn their trade and getting a run in the qualifiers will be another step in the right direction for a squad of players who I feel will challenge for Ulster honours inside the next two or three years. Providing they get a good draw today I think they can reach the last 12 and that will be undoubted progress for them. If someone had said that [Cavan reaching last 12] to you last year you would have said that they were crazy.

Armagh once again showed their opposition no mercy and that is the way that you have to be at county level. Without their key player Mulligan, Leitrim were never going to upset the odds and I know a few people who had Armagh backed to win by more than seven points.

Paul Grimley will feel vindicated about their style of play after two landslide wins in a row and, while they are unlikely to get it that easy again, all you can do is beat what is put in front of you.

There is nobody, including Tyrone, who will relish a trip to the Athletic Grounds in the next round as they will have their tails up and that's the one thing about Armagh players, when their confidence is high they feel that they are a match for anyone.

Tyrone were always on a hiding to nothing in the last round against Roscommon. The closeness of the game will prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead and Mickey Harte will use that display as a stick to beat the players with.

They perhaps took their eye off the ball and it just goes to show you that when some of the so-called weaker sides take the qualifiers seriously they can give the top teams a game.

They are still one of the sides that the others will want to avoid in the draw.

Derry are another side who most teams will not want to meet at the moment.

Down had put in two good displays in the championship, a good attacking display in their first game with Derry followed by an excellent defensive show against Donegal, but ended up looking deflated in the re-match.

If the game had been at Pairc Esler it may have been a different story but Down were always going to find it tough to play well for a third game running.

I don't know if Derry would want a derby with Tyrone but Brian McIvor is building for the future and the signs there are good.

For the first time in a few years they carry no expectation into the championship and that will make them a dangerous proposition as it progresses.

Belfast Telegraph


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