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Peter McGrath calling for Fermanagh's clinical edge against Cavan

By John Campbell

In chiselling out victories over Derry and Queen's and losing by just a point to Ulster champions Donegal in the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup, Fermanagh have brought some admirable qualities to the table.

But for tonight's semi-final against Cavan at Kingspan Breffni Park, manager Peter McGrath believes there is one essential pre-requisite if a place in the decider is to be secured.

"The boys must bring along their shooting boots," insists the former Down All-Ireland winning boss.

"We lost to Donegal by a point on Sunday but we shot something like 17 wides. Yet the players showed great courage and spirit and if we can complement these qualities with greater accuracy we won't be far away."

McGrath has inculcated a healthy work ethic within his side and stoked competition for places to such an extent that even some familiar faces are no longer first-choice players.

His side will go into battle tonight against a Cavan outfit still reeling from a feisty Monaghan comeback in Sunday's tempestuous third round tie that encapsulated four dismissals.

And with home advantage again, Terry Hyland's side can regain the belief showed in disposing of Down in their opening tie.

Martin O'Brien and Declan McCusker look set to underpin the Ernesiders defence again but Richard O'Callaghan must impose himself more forcibly at midfield on this occasion while Sean Quigley will again be the go-to marksman in attack.

When Ruairi Corrigan, Paul McCusker and Eoin Donnelly were introduced from the bench against Donegal on Sunday, they galvanised Fermanagh to such an extent that Rory Gallagher's side were restricted to just two points after the break.

This trio merit consideration for starting places tonight while the performance of goalkeeper Thomas Tracey in that game cemented belief that he could become the regular custodian.

Killian Clarke, Martin Reilly, Rory Dunne, Jason McLoughlin, Damien O'Reilly, Jack Brady and Dara McVeety have been to the fore in Cavan's surge into the last four but the team will not only face a stern examination of their skills tonight but a stiff assessment of their fitness.

Erne manager McGrath is convinced that his side will last the pace because of the onerous training they have undertaken lately and indeed because of the options he will have on his bench.

"Given the amount of work we have done, I expect us to be still going strongly towards the end," stresses McGrath.

Cavan reached the final last year only to be beaten by Tyrone and manager Hyland would like to see his side go the full distance.

"We played some good football in the first half against Monaghan and if we can maintain that for the duration that would be a big help," states the Breffni boss.

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