That postponed third round U21 North-West Cup match between Fermanagh and Sligo was played last night and as a result the pairings for the Cup and Shield finals this coming Saturday have been confirmed. We’re in the Cup final against Donegal, while the Shield decider is a re-run of last night’s Fermanagh/Sligo game (which the Erne County lads won convincingly on the 4-11 to 0-14 scoreline).
As I mentioned the other day, we were in the Cup final regardless of how last night’s match went but Fermanagh needed to run up a big score against Sligo to overhaul Donegal on points difference. Their nine-point winning margin last night gave them a +2 points difference, just short of Donegal’s +4 (while we were sitting pretty on +24).
So Saturday’s Cup final, which will be played at Sligo’s Centre of Excellence in Scardan (throw-in time
to be confirmed UPDATE: now confirmed for 2.30pm), gives our lads the opportunity to avenge last weekend’s one-point loss against the same opposition up in Letterkenny. Our chances of doing so should be boosted by the likelihood that that Donegal will face a much-changed Mayo side at the Sligo venue this weekend.
Michael Solan and his selectors opted to field a very different team last Saturday to the one that blew away Sligo the previous weekend. With the likes of Matthew Flanagan, Eddie Doran, Seamus Cunniffe, Jason Forkan, Sharoize Akram and Fionan Duffy back in the mix for Saturday, possibly joined by the fit-again Diarmuid O’Connor (though not the injured Conor Loftus or the club-tied Stephen Coen) there’s got to be every hope that our lads will be able to turn the tables on Donegal this weekend.
Claiming the spoils in the first year of this competition would represent a positive start to Mike Solan’s reign as U21 manager. It would also be the ideal precursor for what will, hopefully, be a sustained push for glory in this year’s U21 championship.