Sunday 21 January 2018

McGrath: Fermanagh have a strong case to appeal McCluskey red

As it stands, McCluskey would miss Fermanagh’s qualifier against Antrim after yesterday’s draw paired the two sides
As it stands, McCluskey would miss Fermanagh’s qualifier against Antrim after yesterday’s draw paired the two sides

Declan Bogue and Cian Tracey

Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath has confirmed that the county board will "do whatever they have to do" in their appeal to have Ryan McCluskey's red card rescinded.

McCluskey was sent off in 55th minute of Sunday's defeat to Monaghan for a challenge on Owen Duffy, and McGrath was incensed with referee Padraig O'Sullivan's decision.

"It was just a gesture of frustration on McCluskey's part," McGrath fumed.

"Certainly, it was a free-kick and I would have no problem with a yellow card because it was a bit undisciplined and it was out of frustration.

"It was nothing more than a poke, it was certainly not a kick, no way was it a kick.

"We will certainly appeal it, do whatever has to be done and we will go wherever we have to go. We will appeal it and make a strong case for it."

As it stands, McCluskey would miss Fermanagh's qualifier against Antrim after yesterday's draw paired the two sides.

The two teams met earlier this year in the Ulster Championship with the Erne men running out eight-point winners (1-13 to 0-8).

Fermanagh will go into the game - which will be played at Brewster Park - as heavy favourites but McGrath isn't taking anything for granted in a bid to ensure that his side are playing football long into the summer.

"It is critical for this team's development that we get as much football as we can during the summer," he said.

"Because it's Antrim, we have already played them and there's a bit of déjà vu, we'll deal with that.

"Antrim, by beating Laois, will take great inspiration from that. It was a very, very good result.

"They are coming into the game off the back of a win, we are coming into the game off the back of a loss, but the way we played on Sunday gives us enormous confidence.

"It's just important that we sustain that intensity, that appetite and desire that we showed.

"If we are able to sustain that over the next 12 days then the winning or the losing of the Antrim game is in our hands. That's the way I would see it."

Offaly, who will be looking to build on their impressive victory over Waterford, will face the losers of this Sunday's Leinster semi-final between Dublin and Kildare.


Roscommon will have to quickly put their shock defeat to Sligo behind them after they were drawn against Cavan for the second successive year in the qualifiers.

Longford will take on Clare as part of a double header with the Banner County's hurlers at Cusack Park, Ennis.

Davy Fitzgerald will be happy with his side's home draw against an Offaly side who were humbled by Laois last weekend.

The tie of the hurling round is the meeting of Wexford and Cork, with Liam Dunne's charges having home advantage.

Limerick should have little trouble progressing away to Westmeath, while Laois will host Dublin.

Round 2A football qualifiers draw:

Antrim v Fermanagh (July 5, Brewster Park, 3.0); Offaly v Loser of Dublin/Kildare (July 4, O'Connor Park, 3.0); Clare v Longford (July 4, Cusack Park, 5.0); Cavan v Roscommon (July 4, Kingspan Breffni Park, 5.0).

Round 1 (knockout) hurling qualifiers draw:

Laois v Dublin (July 4, O'Moore Park, 7.0); Westmeath v Limerick (July 5, Cusack Park, Mullingar, TBC); Clare v Offaly (July 4, Cusack Park, 7.0); Wexford v Cork (July 4, Innovate Wexford Park, 7.0).

Irish Independent

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