Allianz NFL Division 3 North- Round Two Preview
Division 3 North Preview
By Aidan Delaney
Allianz Football League Roinn 3 North
Derry v Fermanagh
Both sides come into this game on the back of victories in week 1 but the manner of those wins could hardly be more different. Rory Gallagher has to feel his home county will provide more of a challenge than the one his men faced while easily dispatching Longford last time out. The visitors meanwhile needed some last minute heroics from sharpshooter Sean Quigley to squeak past the Ulster champions Cavan.
Conor Glass was the man pulling the strings in Pearse Park but probably won’t get the same room in Owenbeg. Niall Loughlin and Shane McGuigan were deadly from the placed ball but Gallagher knows despite scoring 21 points, they left plenty more behind them in the rain. There are no major injury concerns for the Oakleafers ahead of this one thanks to some great preseason work with S&C coach Peter Hughes.
Ryan McMenamin’s charges will bounce into Saturday’s game on a high after prevailing in difficult circumstances. Quigley lead the way but the defence dealt with going down to 13 for the final ten minutes with a steel and determination that’ll give them confidence going forward. It’s a young squad, featuring 3 members of the St Michael’s Hogan Cup winning team, and Conor Love is one to watch after his debut where he scored a well taken point.
Cavan v Longford
Longford boss Padraig Davis was at pains to point out where it all went wrong when asked to comment following his side’s 16 point mauling at home last weekend. Losing 14 out of the 15 matchups on the day isn’t a recipe for success. They can’t afford to put on a similar performance against a Breffni team who will be hurting from being pipped last week. Mickey Graham will know that his fans have seen the riches now so they won’t live with a poor league campaign. They will need a reaction.
The Ulster champions were without the influential Thomas Galligan last week and they missed his nuanced play. Killian Brady had the unenviable task of trying to pick up Sean Quigley so he’ll be hoping for a more straight forward task against the likes of Mickey Quinn. Regaining Division 2 status may well be a priority in Cavan this year and if they’re to do that, more will be expected of new squad members Caoimhan McGovern and Oisin Brady.
It’s almost 10 years since Longford breezed past Cavan in the championship 2-16 to 11 points but a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. Reducing the mistake count has to be to the front of Davis’ mind and giving Gearoid McKiernan a free anywhere inside the 45 will result in disaster. Problems up front need to be addressed quickly as well. Darren Gallagher was the only starting forward to score in the game so getting quick ball inside is a must. Longford are better than they showed last week but their 5 year stay in Division 3 could come to an end unless they buck up their ideas in Kingspan Breffni.