By Niall Gartland
FOR the second year in a row, Fermanagh have claimed a win in the Ulster Minor Championship – and the obvious next step is to piece together two victories on the trot.
Raymond Johnston’s side claimed a deserved preliminary round win over Down at Brewster Park on Saturday evening, but it’s been quite some time since the Erne County have gone on a proper run in the Ulster Minor Championship.
Last year under Aiden Gilroy they defeated Cavan before getting tanked by Tyrone in the last-four, so new manager Raymond Johnston obviously hopes they don’t suffer the same fate against Donegal this weekend.
Johnston said: “Hopefully the boys will have gained a lot of confidence [from defeating Down] and I think they will that.
“That win was a just reward for the effort they’ve all put in, but obviously now the key is getting back-to-back championship wins and hopefully we’ll be able to do that.
“The Down game was our big target so we’re in bonus territory really. We’ll still prepare for the game as best we can and it’s going to be a really good battle.”
The Erne County enjoyed a dream start against Down, knocking in two early goals.
The Mourne County fought hard in the second-half but Fermanagh were composed in the front of the posts when the game was in the melting pot and led from start-to-finish.
Johnston still considers that they’ll need up it another gear if they’re to stand a chance against Donegal, who have a few survivors from the team that reached last year’s final.
“Since we got together as a group we were focused on the Down game, we never under-estimated them and knew it was going to be tough.
“They got it back to a one-score game and they’d a couple of injuries so we had an extra man for a period, so we know we have plenty to work on. Donegal’s going to be a tough test for us, we’re looking forward to it but we know we’ve a lot of room for improvement.”
While there was only a few points between the team at the final whistle, Fermanagh could’ve put the game to bed in the last ten minutes but they failed to capitalise on two great goal-scoring opportunities.
“It’s still a positive that we created those goal chances, and credit to the boys they dug deep and got a couple of vital scores at the end.
“Once we went four points up we didn’t really look like we were going to lose.”