Home comforts could see Fermanagh past Kildare

Ernemen look to build on promising display against Meath

Ultan Kelm brings pace and power to the Fermanagh attack
Ultan Kelm brings pace and power to the Fermanagh attack Ultan Kelm brings pace and power to the Fermanagh attack

Allianz Football League Division Two, round two

Fermanagh v Kildare (Saturday, Brewster Park, 6pm, live on BBCiPlayer)

BEFORE a ball was kicked in the league, it was generally accepted that Fermanagh and Kildare would end up at different sides of the Division Two table, but following the opening round of action, perhaps that perspective has changed.

Fermanagh travelled to Navan last weekend and returned home with a share of the spoils, possibly a point less than they deserved, while Kildare suffered a four-point defeat at the hands of Cavan in the neutral venue of Netwatch Cullen Park.

Kildare have been predictably unpredictable over the past number of years and a quick glance through their league campaign last year illustrates that statement. From the highs of running Dublin to a point in the first round to facing a 13-point hammering by Cork in round two.

Glenn Ryan’s side finished just two-points above the relegation zone and while there’s still a lot of football to be played before the league is wrapped up, the Lilywhites will be keen to get off the mark asap.

There are much easier places to go in search of points than Brewster Park however and Fermanagh are always difficult to beat on home turf. Kieran Donnelly’s side will be buoyed by last week’s display.

Without the scoring power, leadership and experience of Sean Quigley and the Jones brother, Ryan and Conall, many would have predicted a tough campaign for Fermanagh, but on last week’s evidence, they’ll be just fine.

Meath were minus a few bodies themselves but would still have been expected to have too much for Fermanagh, given their Tailteann Cup exploits last season and like Kildare, Meath would have had their eyes on a promotion spot before the league started.

Sean Cassidy was the main man up front for the Erne County, and he top scored with 1-2, while full forward Garvan Jones stroked over 0-2. Eight different players in total got on the scoresheet, with Ultan Kelm pulling the strings at centre half forward.

Kieran Donnelly has enough talent at his disposal to make a real fist of Division Two, having earned promotion last season when they finished top of Division Three with six wins from seven outings, although they subsequently lost the league final to Cavan.

That included four wins in the familiarity of Brewster Park and Fermanagh haven’t welcomed Kildare to the Enniskillen venue since 2019, when they won 0-8 to 0-6. A similar victory today would leave Fermanagh in a good place heading into the break.