Fermanagh will aim to make it through to back-to-back All-Ireland Junior finals when they take on Limerick this Sunday in Kinnegad, Westmeath.

Erne Manager Jonny Garrity admits that the squad has unfinished business in the competition after losing out to Louth in the final last year, but he stresses that they won’t be looking any further ahead than their meeting with Limerick.

“That was very much at the forefront of our mind when we came into the season, that we wanted to right a few wrongs.

“But, in saying that, you can’t replay a previous season, that one’s gone, and we have to go out and win the new challenge that is in front of us and we are determined to do that.

“Of course, that’s where we want to end up – we want to be in an All-Ireland final again, and we want to be successful in it, but we are not even thinking about that yet because we have too much respect for a really good team standing between us and that stage.

“At this point, we are just working really hard to try and overcome this challenge and then we’ll think about the next step after that,” he said.

A tough group saw Fermanagh lose to Wicklow before overcoming Carlow to seal their place in the last four, and Garrity wants to see his side continue to show improvement on Sunday.

“I think there is a real upward trajectory within our performances and that is based of working on things from each game. Much in the same way we improved on day two against Carlow, we expect we will improve further again, and that’s exactly what we are aiming for.

“We were very pleased with the performance against Carlow, but there are elements of the performance that are not where we want it.

“However, we have looked at those areas, and we are working hard on them and we would expect that, come the end of the match on Sunday, we will have righted a few further wrongs and that will take us a long way to the result that we want,” he added.

A stern test

He is expecting a stern test against a Limerick side that they played twice last year, with each side wining one.

“We expect a battle, and we expect to be asked plenty of questions. We played them last year and there was no more than two points between us in each game – they won one, and we won one.

“We know that there have been personnel and management changes since then, so we certainly are not putting too much emphasis on last year’s games, but we do know the character of their players and the quality they have, and that certainly ensures that we won’t be going into this game complacent.”

He believes though that if Fermanagh can further build on that Carlow game, then they will give themselves every chance of reaching the final.

“It is about implementing the system of play we have been working on, that’s the long and short of it.

“In the first match, we managed to implement some parts of that system very well, and fell down in other areas, and the last day out against Carlow we were able to implement more of what we were aiming for.

“There is still room for improvement, so we are looking for a real implementation of what we are after, and believe that is the pathway to success for us,” he explained.

And he says that his side will have to be ready for another tight encounter that could go down to the wire.

“We would love to be in a position where we have a good lead, and hold on to it, but it very rarely goes the way you want it to go in your head.

“There is a whole other team and a whole lot of preparation and work that has gone into it by the other side, and they are going to provide a real challenge.

“We need to be ready for a battle for the whole 60-plus minutes, and we are ready for that both mentally and physically, and we are looking forward to it,” said Garrity.

He will likely have to do it without Captain Courteney Murphy, who picked up a knock in the defeat to Wicklow a fortnight ago.

“The one concern we have is Courteney Murphy, and she is very unlikely to play a part in the semi-final and would be a doubt for the final as well, if we were to make it.

“That is a blow – she is our Captain, and is such an important player on the field. But we are happy to utilise the squad, and we will have belief in whoever we select on the day,” he said.

Indeed, Garrity has used a good number of his squad in the two games, to date, and he feels that their strength in depth is vital.

“When you are talking about Winter football, and you are talking about a championship in a condensed period, you have to utilise your squad to keep players fresh.


“We have used a good spread of players so far, and we are going to continue to do that, because you are not going to win anything with 15 or 20 players. We are delighted with the quality we have right throughout the squad, and we have no hesitation is using that and rewarding players who deserve it.”

And he says that the squad are relishing the task at hand.

“The girls, like every other team, have sat around for a large chunk of this year hoping that there would be football this year, and we are taking advantage now that the games are here and we are looking forward to them and relishing them.

“We are delighted to be in the semi-final and we want to take the opportunity and have no regrets afterwards and, hopefully, all their hard work will pay off on the day,” he concluded.