What we learned about Fermanagh and Armagh
What we learned about Armagh
THE Orchardmen are still not a force in Ulster Championship football. Fermanagh followed Down, Cavan and Donegal by stopping the Orchardmen at the first provincial hurdle under Kieran McGeeney.
Didn’t lack effort or desire, but without experienced campaigners – particularly class forwards like Jamie Clarke and Stefan Campbell – Armagh don’t have the punching power to scare other sides and didn't score from play after the 17th minute. Without Rory Grugan on the field, Armagh do not have a reliable free-taker or a creative presence in the half-forward zone.
They are too easily contained when the opposition gets numbers behind the ball and, under pressure, lack composure and often cough up possession.
The sendings off on the touchline and on the field hint at disciplinary issues that need to be addressed quickly and Armagh looked lifeless and lacked direction on Saturday and once again were unable to find a way to turn the tide in a Championship game.
Armagh are blessed with a number of excellent midfielders but the tactic of getting them all on the field at the same time didn’t work on Saturday and the Orchardmen now face a hectic schedule in the Qualifiers that will test a panel that is short on experience.
What we learned about Fermanagh
IN Rory Gallagher and Ryan McMenamin, Fermanagh has an astute management team and they used their experience against Armagh in the League to come up with a blueprint for success on Saturday.
There are vast reserves of experience in this team and the Ernemen play to their strengths. They have a formidable midfield pairing in Eoin Donnelly and Ryan Jones and hungry ball winners around them including the McCusker brothers, Declan and Paul.
Fermanagh utilized the energy and pace of the likes of Barry Mulrone and Declan McCusker by positioning their forwards on the touchline and in the corners to create space in the scoring zone. The tactic worked well in the first half.
At the back, James McMahon is a capable, instinctive sweeper while full-backs Che Cullen and Michael Jones proved they can compete with physical full-forwards.
The tight pitch at Brewster Park suited them on Saturday, but Fermanagh will need Seamus Quigley to hit the ground running with frees and from play from the start in the semi-final and also find a way to get Conall Jones into the game offensively.