James Daly has total belief in his Fermanagh team as they target place in Division Four final
Lidl Ladies’ National Football League Division Four semi-final Fermanagh v Leitrim (Sunday, Templeport Bawnboy, 2pm)
FERMANAGH manager James Daly says if his side can put in the performance he knows they are capable of, they have every chance of defeating Leitrim in Sunday’s Division Four semi-final.
The Ulster side go in as underdogs against the Connacht side, now under the tutelage of former Erne manager Jonny Garrity.
While Garrity may know the Fermanagh players, Daly says he will not necessarily know about how they will set up and the players themselves will be out to beat their former manager.
“He knows all the girls but the girls will have a wee bit of a bite about them, they will want to beat Jonny at the same time. Jonny did a great job when he was here and got them into Division Three and got them out of junior football,” said Daly.
“Leitrim are a very, very good side. They have got very good players. They have been playing intermediate football the last couple of years and I expect them to be a tough, tough competition for us on Sunday. But I’m expecting us to rise to the occasion.
“Leitrim are definitely favourites going by the fact that last year they beat us in the league, they are playing intermediate football but at the same time they are still playing Division Four and didn’t get out of it last year either so I don’t think there is a massive amount between the two teams.
‘‘They may have a bit more experience than us in some of the positions but we feel if we do put in the performance that there is no reason why we can’t win the game.”
Both sides reached the league semi-finals last year, but both came up short, with Fermanagh losing to Limerick and Leitrim beaten by Offaly.
Recent meetings between them have seen Leitrim come out on top in a league encounter last year by 20-plus points and a one-point win in the intermediate championship in 2021, while Fermanagh won the 2019 league meeting by three, so apart from last year’s result, there has not been much to separate the sides.
Fermanagh qualified for the knock-out stages with two wins from their three games, putting their opening defeat to Antrim behind them to see off Carlow and London and finish runner-up to Antrim.
Leitrim qualified top of their group ahead of Limerick and come into this semi-final so far unbeaten.
Neither have been in action since their final round of league games at the beginning of the month and the lack of competitive football compared to the teams in the other three leagues has been disappointing.
“I’m really disappointed in how the LGFA has treated Division Four this year because getting three league games on our side and the other side getting four where everyone else has seven games in the league it’s not good but look, everybody is looking forward to the semi,’’says Daly.
‘‘Our goal set was to get to the semi-finals. We are in the semi-finals and the whole team is buzzing. We thought we let ourselves down a wee bit last year [in the semi-final]. We had Limerick beat in that game and then we lost the run of ourselves in the last 10 minutes, they scored a couple of goals.”
Fermanagh have been boosted by the return of key players from injury including last year’s Players’ Player of the Year Blaithin Bogue and Sarah McCarville.
“I’m happy where we are at and who we have available. There is a good squad of girls and all fighting for their place. We will set our stall out on Sunday and hopefully we will get the win and get to a league final,” added Daly.