Fermanagh sweat over McGurn fitness

By Katrina Brennan

FERMANAGH manager Kieran Donnelly is sweating on the fitness of full-forward Darragh McGurn as the comeback kings host Tipperary in Ederney on Sunday afternoon.

Having pulled victory from the jaws of defeat on their last game at the St Joseph’s venue against Down, they repeated the trick with a late show against Antrim in Belfast last weekend.

Promotion is very much in the picture but Donnelly said that McGurn may miss out having been replaced by Sean Quigley at the interval against the Saffrons.

“Darragh was struggling with an injury and he didn’t feel comfortable going into the game. We sort of kept that under wraps all week but he felt it in the very first play and was struggling with it and he just couldn’t continue at half time and he was a big loss of us.

“They would’ve focused on Darragh all week, they had their best man-marker on him as well, but hopefully this week we’ll be all about rehabbing him and getting him back on the pitch.”

While most Fermanagh supporters would’ve been happy to leave Corrigan Park with a draw and one point on the board in the 72nd minute given that they had been eight points down earlier in the second half, the Erne boss said he wanted both points on offer.

“I felt we had to win it because we had the momentum. We pushed up aggressively, I just thought there was one more play in us.

“I thought our body language was good, we’ve put a lot of focus and work on that; about how we respond to those challenges and I thought we showed that in the last five minutes and it was really what won us the game.”

Fermanagh came from eight points down in the 50th minute to beat Antrim in the most dramatic of smash-and-grab victories. Donnelly’s men left it late with Quigley once again saving the day for the Ernemen with an added-time goal and Conor McGee stuck over the winning point.

Both men were second-half substitutes and Donnelly stressed the importance of the depth in his squad at the minute.

“The bench is the thing,” he said. “The pace the boys play at and the way the game has gone, it’s so high-octane and we needed those options and the boys stood up again.

“That’s two weeks in a row; again, it’s a credit to them. Even the pressure Fionan (O’Brien) put in that corner at the end and Conor was cool to tap that ball over the bar; it was the right move, it was the right score.

“Lee (Cullen) getting the hand in for the kick-out, all those small things add to it. I know Ultán’s (Kelm) goal was exceptional at that stage. It just gave us that wee bit of a lift and Seán has just that wee bit of awareness, only Seán gets those sort of goals, it’s a skill in itself, it’s a knack in itself.

“I’m just delighted we showed the composure and the character, it’s worth 10, 15 training sessions that. That brings that confidence to a squad, that we can dig it out when we’re not playing well at times.”

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