Fermanagh minor manager Maurice McLaughlin is hoping that his side can build on a positive opening 25 minutes against Cavan when they host Down in the Qualifiers next Saturday at Brewster Park.

The Erne lads held their own for the vast majority of the first half but Cavan went in two points up at the break before pushing on for the win in the second half.

“If the lads can have that bit of belief in themselves and see that they can compete with any of these teams and if they can deliver that level of performance for the full hour we would be confident that we will be there or thereabouts,” said McLaughlin who is already focusing on the game against the Mournemen. “We will regroup, we’ll dust ourselves down and we’ll go at it again.

“It is good to get a home draw and it is also good to have the fortnight break between the games.”

McLaughlin felt that the periods either side of half time were crucial in Breffni Park on Saturday evening.

“We had a few unforced errors that left them going in two points up at half time and we felt we had played well enough to be leading or at least be level at half time. They then tagged on a couple of points at the start of the second half and it left things difficult for us.

“I thought though that we remained quite competitive and I was glad with the way we finished the game, it gave a lot of encouragement going into the qualifiers.

“I was proud of the lads, the way they worked to the end and I was especially proud of the performance they gave in those opening 25 minutes or so where they more than matched Cavan and held their own,” he said.