Ulster sides in the hunt for trophies

Tyrone's Conor McAlliskey and Fermanagh's Ryan McCluskey
Tyrone's Conor McAlliskey and Fermanagh's Ryan McCluskey

Three Ulster provinces have a chance to win early season silverware in the league finals this weekend.

On Sunday, the Division Two final pits Down against Roscommon, while today the Division Three show piece is an all-Ulster meeting between Armagh and Fermanagh.

Right from the outset of the campaign, Armagh and Fermanagh looked like the counties most likely to be promoted to Division II, and so it transpired in these last few weeks.

With still over a month left before either side plays in the Ulster Football Championship - Fermanagh host Antrim on May 31; Armagh face the winners of Donegal/Tyrone on June 14 - a competitive tussle is expected at Croke Park.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been on the wrong end of a number of results against Armagh and it would definitely be nice to overcome them at the weekend and win some silverware,” said Fermanagh’s Ryan McCluskey.

“People give out about the final, when teams are promoted but it’s great to play in a competitive game coming up to Championship. We don’t get that many chances to win silverware. It’s something we’d love, no matter what division it is.”

Jamie Clarke and Tony Kernan have been recalled to the Armagh team. Armagh boss Kieran McGeeney has also selected Mark Shields, Aaron Findon, Ethan Rafferty, Aidan Forker and Finnian Moriarty.

Fermanagh will be without captain Eoin Donnelly because of a hand injury sustained during the week. Richard O’Callaghan replaces Donnelly in midfield.

Meanwhile, Down boss Jim McCorry has kept faith with the side that earned promotion by beating Laois for tomorrow’s meeting with Roscommon.

Kevin McKernan will lead the attack, despite being a black card away from missing the Ulster SFC opener against Derry. There are some positional changes which see Gerard Collins switch from right half back to the left corner and Damian Turley move from left corner back to the right corner.

Darren O’Hagan relocates from the right corner into the half back line, while Paul Delvin switches from attack to midfield, with Caolan Mooney now positioned at full forward.

“A lot of people wrote us off and said we were doomed for Division III and I suppose we used that as a bit of motivation, “ said Down forward Donal O’Hare.

“There was a young team coming through and a lot of boys left. I think it was a chance for the new boys really to come in and step up and I think that’s what we have done. This Sunday will be the first time we are playing together in Croke Park and the first time we have a chance to win silverware together so we are really looking forward to it.”

Dublin and Cork will battle it out for the Division One crown on Sunday.