OPINION: Fermanagh will travel in droves to Dublin but few genuinely believe they have a hope 6 years ago

OPINION: Fermanagh will travel in droves to Dublin but few genuinely believe they have a hope

Fermanagh have nothing to lose but should find it impossible to win.

My interest in Fermanagh began in 2008 with their journey to the Ulster Final. It also coincided with dating a local lass, who is now my wife.

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Fermanagh could not score a free to save their life, or win a game, that day and Armagh finished them off in a replay.

The Maguire County has had a rough time of it in recent years but Pete McGrath has done a fine job with the squad he inherited and has them in their first quarter-final in 11 years.

Unfortunately for Fermanagh, they will take on free-scoring Dublin at Croke Park.

I travelled up to Teemore, via Cavan, on Saturday and listened to the Newstalk coverage of Fermanagh's ultimately comfortable win over Westmeath.

Sean Quigley mixed wides with great scores, Tomás Corrigan was excellent - and scored a fine goal - and Ryan Jones dominated in midfield. Once the game was over, most Fermanagh supporters steeled themselves for a meeting with All-Ireland champions Kerry at Croker.

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Instead, Kildare shocked Cork and, as a reward, got Kerry in the last eight.

Upon landing in Fermanagh, around 9pm, the jubilation of defeating Westmeath had been replaced by realism.

Everyone Fermanagh native I spoke to declared Dublin would win at a canter. The overriding sensation was that Dublin would put McGrath's men away by the 45th minute and empty the bench again, keen not to show their true attacking hand. These were the two comments that stood out.

  • 'Hang onto their heels for as long as possible and see if Seanie [Quigley] can grab us a goal or three.'
  • 'I just hope its not a bloodbath.'
  • 'Ach, sure it's a day out'

Save the 'A' game for the semis. Must be a great luxury to have.

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Regardless of the outcome, Fermanagh will empty on Sunday and the N3 will be full of flag-waving cars. For a side that was in Allianz League Division 3 at the start of the year, reaching the last night is an achievement to be celebrated.

From Belcoo to Newtownbutler, very few cows will be milked in the county, win, lose or lose by a shedload.