GAA Football

Fermanagh won't batten down hatches against Armagh says Shane McGullion

Cavan's Thomas Galligan fists over a point early in the second half of Saturday night's Division Two victory over neighbours Fermanagh. Picture by Donnie Phair
Neil Loughran

SHANE McGullion insists Fermanagh won't abandon their more open approach under Ryan McMenamin when they welcome Ulster rivals Armagh to Enniskillen for a crunch Division Two clash on Sunday.

After Saturday night's defeat to neighbours Cavan - a result which brought an end to an almost three year unbeaten League run at Brewster Park - the Ernemen are now in dire need of a win to try and stave off relegation fears.

Fermanagh completely nullified the Orchard threat in a 2018 Ulster Championship encounter during Rory Gallagher's first year in charge. Under McMenamin they have pressed higher up the field, but poor shot selection and individual mistakes cost them in a nip and tuck tussle with the Breffnimen.

Sitting bottom of the table, McMenamin believes his side need to win their remaining three games to avoid the drop to Division Three - and McGullion feels they have to keep faith with their playing style, even against a potent Armagh attack.

“We're trying to play with a quicker transition from defence into attack,” said the Derrygonnelly man.

“A lot of us haven't played that way with Fermanagh over the last while so mistakes are going to happen, that's just the reality. But the more we play it, the more we practice, these mistakes will get ironed out and hopefully we'll do the basics better.

“Armagh will probably be thinking we'll drop back like we usually did, but if we push out and put the pressure on them, hopefully we'll get the turnovers higher up the pitch and get the scores from it.

“They didn't like coming to Brewster Park back then [in 2018] – no team likes coming to Brewster Park. When we played them in Crossmaglen last year, we didn't play well and yet we still could've come away with a win.

“We'll be hoping to get a win.”

The Ernemen were largely architects of their own demise against Cavan, falling victim to two high balls into the square in the second half, Padraig Faulkner rising to punch home the Breffni County's first goal before Thomas Galligan profited from goalkeeper James McMahon's fumble.

Having only just been edged out in previous games by Kildare and Westmeath, McGullion admits it has been a frustrating run thus far.

He said: “We should've beat Westmeath and we should've won today, so we should be sitting further up the table. The hard reality is we're not so it's time to put the heads down and get working again.

“It looked as though we were getting back on the right tracks and we got hit by a sucker-punch again. We're putting ourselves in good positions and just seem to drop off when it gets to the crunch time.

“We fought well, got it back to two, and the second goal killed us. It was sloppy, we should've stopped it, but that's football.

“James had been doing well, he boxed two of them away in the first half. We have confidence in him, we don't need a big person back there but it was just the luck of it. The first one we got a warning when he flicked it over the bar, then the next two, we just didn't get back in time – I could've had the second one stopped, I got sold a dummy.

“We need a big push now to stay in Division Two and play tier one football – no-one wants to play tier two football, it's the first year at it so it'll be hard over the next couple of weeks, but it's a challenge we're looking forward to.”

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