Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Fear Manach

Fermanagh – Cavan a familiar pairing.

June 26th, 2012

For the third time in less than a decade, Fermanagh and Cavan run up against each other in the championship. The sequence began in 2003 with Fermanagh scoring a win in Brewster Park in a Qualifier tie, Cavan reversed that in 2009 with an Ulster championship victory in Breiffni Park and a season later, Fermanagh returned to the venue to make amends for that disappointment.

Most notable thing about that Fermanagh success was that it was bridging a gap of almost a century since the Erne side were  last success over their cross border neighbours in a championship clash at the famed Breiffni venue.

That recent scorecard of two Erne wins and one Cavan triumph would indicate that there is very little to separate these sides, a fact underlined by their present National League standings.

Cavan were in Division three but an indifferent campaign saw them just avoid relegation. Fermanagh plied their trade in Division four and claimed a promotion slot.

So both will be contesting next season’s league division three meaning that this Saturday’s Qualifier tie will be a pointer for that.

All that in the future however, the full concentration of both camps will be intensely focussed on this round one contest with both counties desperately keen to gain some measure of consolation for their respective championship defeats. Both those defeats were on home soil.

Cavan made a spirited enough opening burst against reigning champions Donegal but then faded out of contention as the accomplished Tir Connail side raised the level of their performance.

Fermanagh shot themselves in the foot against  Down, reduced to fourteen men with the game still in its infancy. They were to rally in the second half with a feisty enough effort but Down were not to be seriously troubled.

Cavan will not be unduly concerned about  travelling to Brewster Park. The ground has been good to them over recent seasons as their talented under 21 side have been regular visitors and have usually left in a happy frame of mind. With quite a number of those provincial winning sides now featuring on the senior set up, Cavan will have no particular problems in playing in Enniskillen.

Cavan too will be journeying with a confident attitude for this draw has been basically kind to them. They might well have been faced with much stiffer opposition, Armagh, Longford for example so in Fermanagh they will certainly be viewing a distinct opportunity to make headway in a Qualifying set up which has seen them only enjoy a limited measure of success.

Their defeats heavily outnumber their  victories.

Fermanagh on the other hand have produced some outstanding performances in the Qualifying format,  the most noteworthy of course being their sensational run to the All Ireland semi final in 2004.

They haven’t replicated that astonishing achievement  but have still managed to rack up some excellent results.

No clear favourite going into this latest encounter between the cross border neighbours. Fermanagh will be absent two especially important players, defender  Ryan McCluskey out through injury, half forward Daryl Keenan suspended.

Balancing that out however is the fact that they do have ‘home’advantage as such, though as already noted, the opposition will be very much at ease on this pitch.

Cavan on the other hand look to have a full hand to select from for a game which is make or break for both sides.

Both will be hugely determined to see the season extended at least into the month of July and this will make for a committed effort from both.

A game sure to be played at a fiercely competitive pace and intensity.

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