Fermanagh hurlers could book final spot with win

By Katrina Brennan

THIS weekend, Fermanagh hurlers could, mathematically, book their place in the Division 3B final if results go their way.

The Erne County need a win on home soil against Lancashire on Saturday afternoon but they’ll also need Leitrim to go to Longford and get a victory, if Fermanagh are to finish top and automatically qualify for the final.

Fermanagh hurling manager Joe Baldwin is taking it one game at a time though.

“We just have to look after our hurling game and try and get a result against Lancashire.

“You’re never really sure what the English clubs are going to bring across. They (Lancashire) competed in the Lory Meagher final last year against Monaghan and I was very impressed with them, so we certainly won’t be taking them for granted.”

Fermanagh enjoyed a 1-26 to 1-5 win over Leitrim the first day out and backed it up with an 11-point win against Warwickshire in Brewster Park just over a week ago, winning 1-19 to 2-5.

Fermanagh didn’t have it all their own way against Warwickshire though and Baldwin is looking for an improvement in this weekend’s performance.

“You can put a spin on it and say that we created 41 scoring opportunities in a 72-minute game, which we did, and scored 1-19 but we actually shot 18 wides in that game and it’s something we are working very hard on.

“One of the things we have been stressing under Daithí (Hand) and Peter (Galvin) is to be absolutely ruthless and that’s not just to try and win games but win games by as much as we possibly can because particularly coming into championship; championship could come down to score difference,” he warns.

Baldwin said that Tommy Duane from Galway is a doubt this weekend after he has rolled his ankle and it’ll be “a race against time” for him to be fit. Dylan Bannon will also miss the Lancashire game due to being out of the country.

The impact of the returning Tom Keenan and John Duffy has been warmly welcomed by Fermanagh and their impact was telling in the first two games.

“Tom brings so much to the group. His positivity, his humour, he just lights up the whole place and it’s great to have him back and scoring well and playing with the confidence he played with a few years ago. Him, and John Duffy, to have them back is great, two real quality hurlers,” said Baldwin.

Fermanagh played Division 2B side Donegal in a challenge on Sunday morning in Convoy in a bid to “keep the tempo up” as they ready themselves for some big games ahead.

While the Tir Chonaill men won 1-17 to 0-13, Fermanagh used over 26 players in what was a very competitive and physical match.

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