Derrygonnelly will once again step out to represent Fermanagh in the Ulster Club arena this Sunday and the Harps will be aiming to secure only their second ever win in the competition when they take on Antrim champions Cargin in Corrigan Park Belfast.

The Harps clinched their fifth successive Fermanagh title with victory over Roslea as they continue to be the dominant force inside the county and that was reinforced as they made it a league and championship double by claiming the Division One crown by seeing of Ederney in the decider.

However, progression in Ulster has been a much tougher task with the victory over Armagh Harps in 2017 their only win in the competition to date.

Of course, they have had some very difficult draws with Slaughtneil their opponents in the first two years and Scotstown their conquerors last year and according to manager Sean Flanagan there is a real desire among the players to make their mark in Ulster.

“I would say that our level of performance in Ulster has consistently been decent but it is all about getting that win and we would gladly take a win with a less creditable display on Sunday,” he said.

Cargin secured the Antrim championship last weekend after an enthralling extra time win after a replay over Lamh Dhearg and Flanagan knows that his side will face a severe test of their credentials.

“They are going to be a big challenge and I would say that they are similar to ourselves in that they are measured and controlled and you know exactly what they will bring to the table. It is a new challenge for us and no doubt it is a step up but hopefully we will be ready for it. Look, we have been here the last four years and hopefully we will have learnt enough lessons along the way that will serve us well on Sunday,” he stated.

Cargin though are also an experienced side with plenty of quality in their ranks and like Derrygonnelly, they too have swept all in front of them in Antrim this year. The likes of Tony Scullion, Kevin O’Boyle and Justin Crozier are key men in defence and they will feel if they can keep Conall Jones, Kevin Cassidy and Garvan Jones quiet it will go along way to deciding the outcome.

The middle third will as usual be crucial. Ryan Jones has been a commanding figure again throughout the championship and has been well aided by Stephen McGullion but in Gerard McCann and John Carron Cargin have plenty to offer in that sector.

The big battle though could be the Cargin attack that includes the McCann brother Tomas and Micheal along with Michael Magill up against Shane McGullion, Michael Jones, Tiernan Daly et al. If Derrygonnelly can limit their influence then they will be in a strong position.

The big question for Cargin is will the exertions of a replay and extra time take their toll on Sunday. Flanagan, however, thinks there is two ways of looking at.

“What effect those games will have on them when we get into the final spell on Sunday we will just have to wait and see but Cargin, I’m sure, will feel that they have momentum and winning keeps you fresh,” he stated.

And the Derrygonnelly joint manager is in no doubt that this is a game that will be decided in the closing stages.

“These games in Ulster are always tight and they will come down to the last spell of the game. You even look at us against Scotstown last year and that was only decided late on. When it comes to that stage then you have to be able to go out and win it,” he said.

Derrygonnelly have shown steady improvement throughout the season and Flanagan acknowledges that they are going into Ulster in good form while he also feels that they have added more to their game this year.

“We are playing rightly and the lads are working hard and showing a good application in doing the right thing in games. I also feel that we have become very good in possession and that is something that has to continue if we are to progress on Sunday.”