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I'll learn from dismissal: Fermanagh captain Donnelly

By Declan Bogue

Until his red card on Sunday, Fermanagh captain Eoin Donnelly was the pick of the players in his side's McKenna Cup semi-final defeat to Tyrone.

It was a funny coincidence that a foul on his cousin, Mattie Donnelly, forced Down referee Ronan Barry to reach into his pocket for the second yellow card, having been booked earlier in the game for a spot of wrestling with Jonathan Munroe.

The Erne skipper didn't exonerate himself from blame afterwards. He explained: "The ball broke and Mattie picked it up. It was one of those instinct things where you put your arm out to his chest to block him.

"Whatever happened, he was ducking and it caught him high. It was a yellow card and that was it.

"If you are on a yellow card and you are making those tackles, you have to be a bit more careful. I have to learn from it."

With their involvement in the Dr McKenna Cup at an end, Fermanagh are now concentrating on their league opener against Derry in Owenbeg on January 31.

Asked if the Tyrone defeat was a wake-up call and that the McKenna Cup can give a somewhat false reading, Donnelly replied: "It depends what you are putting into the McKenna Cup. We got a lot out of it this year so it was beneficial. We know we are facing strong teams in the division this year, Tyrone being one of them, and I am sure they will have high aspirations, as do we. Hopefully we will have learned from this."

Like many in the crowd, he was impressed with the unorthodox but effective methods of his team-mate, Sean Quigley.

He said: "You have to get the ball into him. He is going to put the finish on it most of the time. Hopefully we can continue getting the best from him."

Donnelly also believes that Fermanagh have discovered a few talents to bolster the squad, citing his Coa clubmate Ryan Hanna: "Ryan is fit, strong and impressive. Anytime he has got a chance he has done very well."

Belfast Telegraph


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