Peter McGrath says Ernemen aim to avenge 2014 defeat by Antrim

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Fermanagh well prepared for Antrim game - Peter McGrath
Ulster SFC quarter-final: Fermanagh v Antrim
Venue: Brewster Park Date: Sunday, 31 May Throw-in: 16:00 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on Radio Ulster MW and live text commentary on BBC Sport website; full deferred coverage on BBC Two NI from 19:00 BST

Fermanagh football boss Peter McGrath says the management and players are determined to atone for last year's defeat by Antrim in Sunday's Ulster SFC rematch against the Saffrons.

"We just didn't as a management team and as players produce the product on the day last year," admitted McGrath.

"But I think we're a more vibrant and assured team this year.

"Obviously, Antrim are in our sights and it's a golden opportunity to redress last year's result."

Fermanagh went into last year's game at Brewster Park as marginal favourites but Brian Neeson's 1-6 helped the Saffrons earn a deserved 2-18 to 3-13 victory despite a late rally by the Erne County.

Neeson will be among a number of high-profile Antrim players who are not part of the Saffron squad this year and Fermanagh's exploits in the Football League during the Spring as they secured promotion to Division Two will mean that the Ernemen will be even more fancied to win Sunday's game.

Fermanagh do have a fitness doubt over Eoin Donnelly who has been out of the game for more than a month because of a thumb injury.

Donnelly has been able to take part in all of Fermanagh's recent training sessions but it's not yet clear whether his thumb will be up to the rigours of starting at Brewster Park.

Antrim's Brian Neeson attempts to burst away from Fermanagh defender Ryan McCluskey in last year's Ulster SFC game
Brian Neeson hit 1-6 for Antrim in last year's game against Fermanagh but is not available to the Saffrons 12 months on

Ruairi Corrigan is expected to be available after picking up a hamstring strain in the Division Three League final defeat by Armagh.

As evidenced by Fermanagh's successful league campaign, McGrath believes that the squad are in a more better position heading into this year's championship than 12 months ago.

McGrath was a late appointment to the Fermanagh post in November 2013 after the departure of previous boss Peter Canavan and the Down man always felt he was playing catch-up last year.

"This year, we had far more time pre-season. Myself and the management were able to put structures in place.

"For me personally last year, I was coming into the dark.

"I didn't know one player (in the squad) and it took me a full season to get a handle on their personalities and their capabilities.

"All of that being factored in has put us in a lot more stable position this year.

"As a consequence, we had a very good league campaign and I'm looking forward to the championship."

McGrath believes Fermanagh's league performance indicate that the players have begun to believe in themselves.

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"The challenge that faces any manager is maximising the potential within the county and that's always the baseline from which you operate.

"But the second challenge coming to, let's say, a less successful county is to try and get into the minds of the players and create a positive mindset.

"It's about trying to convince them that they are as good as anyone else if they just believe it and work to that level.

"And when you do win matches, and we have been fortunate to do that this year and get promotion, that self-belief starts to come in and that's vital."

But while Fermanagh, even taking into account their Division Three Final defeat, have had an excellent spring, Antrim still have to be beaten on Sunday.

Fermanagh's favouritism will bring its own pressures and Antrim boss Frank Fitzsimons will be emphasising last season's result.

"We could have won last year but it would have been very hard on Antrim who were the better team over the 70 minutes," adds McGrath.

"Antrim will be formidable again on Sunday and we will have to produce a really good performance to get the result that we want."

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