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Fermanagh have injury concerns over key duo ahead of Tailteann Cup clash with Longford

Mickey Quinn of Longford, left, and Declan McCusker of Fermanagh during the Tailteann Cup launch at Croke Park. Fermanagh captain McCusker and star forward Sean Quigley are both injury worries for Erne boss Kieran Donnelly ahead of Saturday evening's trip to Glennon Brothers Pearse Park Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
GARETH CAULDWELL

Tailteann Cup Round One: Longford v Fermanagh (today, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 5.30pm)

LONGFORD and Fermanagh will battle it out for a place in the quarter-final of the inaugural Tailteann Cup when they meet at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park this evening.

This has the makings of a competitive, tight affair as both sides target progression through to the last eight.

The sides have already met this year at the same venue in Division Three with Kieran Donnelly’s Fermanagh having come away with a seven-point victory on that occasion but neither side will read too much into that encounter as Longford played the entire second half with 14 men after key man and captain Mickey Quinn saw red late in the first half.

The previous two league games between the sides may provide a better indication of how close this game could be.

In 2018 they met in a promotion shoot out at Pearse Park and Longford looked to be on their way to the victory as they led by two as the game rolled into added on time. However, Seamie Quigley landed three late frees to snatch a dramatic win and promotion for the Ernemen.

And the sides had to settle for a share of the spoils when they met in the League last year, Sean Quigley this time popping up with a point deep in added on time to snatch a draw for Fermanagh at Brewster Park.

Having never met in the All-Ireland Qualifiers, this will be the first championship meeting between the sides and whoever comes through will fancy their chances of making a real push for the silverware.

Fermanagh have a couple of big injury concerns ahead of the game with talisman Sean Quigley and captain Declan McCusker both rated doubtful for the tie.

Quigley impressed in the earlier league clash at Pearse Park with his two second half goals sending Fermanagh on their way to the victory and if he is unavailable, it would be a big blow to the Ernemen’s hopes.

Longford, who were knocked out of the Leinster Championship by Westmeath, will feel that they have players who can cause Fermanagh problems.

Centre back Quinn is an influential figure while Fermanagh will be aware of the scoring threat posed by midfielder Darren Gallagher who impressed in the League encounter.

Then further forward they will look to the likes of Dessie Reynolds, Dylan Farrell and Jayson Matthews to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Fermanagh were impressive in the first half of their Ulster Championship defeat to Tyrone before the Red Hands pulled away in the second half.

Defensively, Johnny Cassidy, Luke Flanagan and James McMahon have had strong season’s while the away side will look to the experience of Ryan Jones at midfield.

And in attack, Quigley – if fit to play – will be expected to be among the points while Donnelly will also expect the likes of Darragh McGurn and Ciaran Corrigan to chip in with scores.

Goals could be crucial in this tie and Fermanagh showed against Tyrone that they are capable of creating goal chances while Longford shipped three in both the league meeting with Fermanagh and in their championship defeat to Westmeath.

Erne boss Donnelly has made no bones about the fact that he is keen for his side to get a run in the Tailteann Cup and while this may be close, Fermanagh may have just enough to shade it and progress to the quarter-finals.

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