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McMahon in race against the clock to prove he's ready for Fermanagh duty

 

By John Campbell

Fermanagh defender James McMahon is hoping to heal in time for his team's Ulster Championship encounter against Armagh next Saturday after suffering an injury to his forehead while assisting his club Roslea last weekend.

McMahon had 12 stitches inserted in the wound but is confident that he will be ready to face Kieran McGeeney's men.

He figured at left-half-back for the Erne outfit when they lost to the Orchard County in the Division Three final at Croke Park last month and is particularly keen to see the side progress in the Ulster Championship.

McMahon played for Queen's University in the Dr McKenna Cup, and his experience and vision could prove key assets against an Armagh side who have their own injury worries to deal with.

Skipper Rory Grugan and Ethan Rafferty are still recovering from injuries but could yet get game time against Fermanagh.

Meanwhile, manager McGeeney is resigned to being without Jamie Clarke for the foreseeable future.

Even though the New York side with which he is currently playing were defeated by Leitrim after extra-time in the Connacht Championship on Sunday, Clarke plans to remain on in the United States.

Having scored five points and provided the assist for Shane Hogan's goal which looked to have given New York considerable first half impetus, Clarke was devastated when his team finished the game by suffering a one-point defeat in the bowels of extra-time (0-19 to 1-15).

He has taken time out since Sunday to assess his position and Clarke is now typically candid in appraising his role in the game.

"I am honestly more than disappointed because, as the so-called marquee forward, I missed several opportunities and probably should have won the game for us," admitted Clarke.

"I got a few scores but when you play at the top level you're expected to nail them all. While I am devastated that we lost in the way in which we did, I will be staying on here in New York for the time being."

While he remains an absentee from the Orchard County line-up, his loss is also keenly felt by his club Crossmaglen Rangers, who will shortly embark on their mission to regain the county Championship title which they surrendered two years ago after having remained the dominant force in the county since 1996.

It was Maghery who halted the Rangers' title surge in 2016 and then last year Harps bridged a 29-year title famine by coming up trumps before losing out to Derrygonnelly Harps in the Ulster Club Championship competition.

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