Fermanagh may sit top of Allianz NFL Division Three but it is certainly all still to play for with regards promotion and a league final place.
Peter Canavan’s side need one point from their final game against Meath to guarantee a top two finish in the league although other results may determine that Fermanagh will go up even if they lose to the Royals on April 7 in Pairc Tailteann. At the same time defeat to Meath could result in missing out on promotion if other results don’t go Fermanagh’s way.
The focus therefore for Canavan and his players over the next week will be on going to Navan, producing a performance and putting another two points on the board that will ensure they go up.
Last Sunday Fermanagh proved too strong for Sligo with the 20 minute period after half time the decisive spell of the game as they turned a one point half time deficit into a six point advantage.
A stiff breeze was a major factor in the contest and having played against it in the first half, Canavan would have been satisfied enough to have been one point down at the turnaround with the wind at their backs in the second half.
During that crucial period after half time, Fermanagh played some excellent football as they worked openings, had men supporting off the shoulder of the man in possession and kicked a number of terrific points.
It was not that they were firing long balls in on top of their full forward line, instead it was well worked attacks with accurate balls into the lively Paul Ward and Tomas Corrigan. Shane McCabe was the fulcrum of the Fermanagh attack and rarely wasted possession while he is also capable of seeing and playing the killer ball. You also have the likes of Tommy McElroy who covers serious ground throughout a game and is always offering support. McElroy has adapted well to life in the half forward line and has the engine that is needed to play that role in the modern game.
You then have half backs willing get forward to join the attack with Declan McCusker rattling over three important points on Sunday while Marty O’Brien also chipped in with a score.
At midfield, Marty McGrath and Shane Lyons give the side a solid foundation while at the back Ryan McCluskey directed things, time and again cutting out Sligo attacks in an assured performance while also promting and leading those around him.
We have also seen Anthony McGuinness slot seamlessly into the side at full back and he is becoming more confident and assertive with every game.
What has been impressive about the side is that Canavan has everybody singing of the same hymn-sheet. Everybody knows what they are meant to be doing and they rarely stray from the game plan. They show little signs of panic and if the situation requires being patient and keeping the ball until an opening can be created then that is what they do.
The other thing that will have delighted Canavan so far is the strength in depth that is in the squad. It’s alright a manager saying he has a strong squad but that can often be proved different when it is put into practice and you have to throw players in.
Injuries have mounted for Fermanagh during the league with the likes of James Sherry, Sean Quigley, Ryan McCluskey, Ryan Jones and Eoin Donnelly having been ruled out for varying lengths of time, but whoever Canavan has put in, they have performed and he knows that he can call on them if, and when, they are needed.
And it is to Canavan’s credit that he has trusted these players to perform and has not put rushed players back into the side until they are 100 percent ready.
The management and players have spoken about knowing there are are areas that they need to improve and work on so they are not getting carried away with things but they are moving in the right direction and while it is going to be another massive test in Navan on Sunday week, if Fermanagh can continue in the direction they are going then they will have nothing to fear.