Fermanagh go into Sunday’s encounter with Westmeath in Mullingar with their 100 per cent record in Division Three still intact but captain Eoin Donnelly acknowledges that there are some tough tests ahead over the next three weeks.
Rory Gallagher’s charges have won four out of four to date and sit level on points with Armagh at the top of the table but Westmeath and Longford are hot on the heels of the top two and Fermanagh have all three teams to play in their remaining three fixtures. Donnelly though feels that they are ready for the challenges that lie ahead.
“We’ve thankfully had a good start but we are realistic in knowing that the next three games are the three sides that are closest to us in the league. It is going to be a tough run but it is something that we think we are ready for,” he said.
A win for Fermanagh on Sunday would be a major blow to Westmeath’s promotion hopes but Donnelly believes that the Ernemen have every bit as much to lose if they come out on the wrong side of the result.
“Because they have been defeated already they are under pressure to make sure that they win but in saying that there is as much to lose for us as there is for them. 
“We have to go with the mentality that we’ve taken into every game which is if we win this then we are in a better position than we were and if we can win then it will set us up well going into the last two games,” he added.
Indeed, the Coa midfielder expects there to be twists and turns before promotion is decided in Division Three.
“The league seems to have split after the first four games into two groups of four but there is still three round of fixtures to go and there usually is a couple of different scenarios. There could be twists and turns to come, there usually is, but hopefully not to our detriment,” said Eoin.
The Fermanagh captain though believes that Westmeath will provide a stern test of Fermanagh’s credentials and he stresses that they cannot afford to play like they did in the second half against Derry when they went from cruising with an 11 point lead to eventually claiming a two point victory.
“We’ve seen Westmeath in Leinster finals in recent years and Westmeath teams have done well at club level as well. They have a good scoring threat whether from frees or from play and that’s something we have to be prepared for.
“Also, we can’t afford to slack of, we had a slack second half against Derry and Derry nearly came back against us and that wouldn’t be sufficient this week.”
And Donnelly states that they will have to learn the lessons from that second half display and look to get a consistent performance as the campaign moves into a crucial stage.
“We were grateful that we didn’t lose points over the head of it. We probably got off with the lesson in that we can take the learning from it but we still got the win. However, going forward into the last few league games and into championship you are not going to get away with that dip in performance. We are going to have to be more consistent over the 70 minutes,” he commented.
Donnelly, who has had a run free of injury so far, has been a key part of Fermanagh’s good run in the league but he says that like everybody else he is still learning what the new management team want from the team. 
“I feel that I’m in the same position as a lot of the younger lads in that I’m still learning from Rory and his management team and what they want from us. It feels like we are still in the early stages of that but thankfully I’ve been able to get a good number of  minutes under my belt and I’m feeling good for it.
“You don’t know what is around the corner but you just have to appreciate it when you can get a good run of games. Obviously, there are the tougher fixtures coming in the league and then you have your club season starting in April so games will be coming thick and fast and inevitably there will be niggles but our squad is in a good condition and hopefully it will stay that way,” he concluded.