Fermanagh pull out of championship

Armagh Hurling Board chairman Paul Kelly has said it is unfortunate that the Fermanagh minor hurlers have had to pull out of the Ulster minor championship due to inadequate numbers.

The Erne county were due to face Armagh in an Ulster quarter-final tie on Saturday in Newry but Armagh and Ulster officials only learned yesterday that Fermanagh would not be able to field a team for the game.

Kelly said: "It's an unfortunate situation for Fermanagh and it's a huge disappointment for the young lads.

"Counties like Fermanagh have put huge work into the development of hurling in recent years and it's just unfortunate for them.

"They had a good team out for the Ulster minor league but numbers have just dwindled for them since."

With a greater number of teams than ever before in the Ulster MHC, the Orchard county chairman feels that it is a learning curve for everyone involved.

"It's the first serious year of this competition. There is a huge learning curve for everyone involved. Everyone is putting in a huge effort," Kelly explained.

"For us it's about a two or three-year programme with development squads and we have good numbers taking part at the moment."

Kelly added that it was also a big disappointment that Saturday's game would not take place, as it would have aided the winners in their challenge against one of the top sides in the province.

"Down are next up in the semi-finals, a competitive game would have been ideal preparation for both ourselves and Fermanagh," he said.

"When you are up against one of the top three (in the province), competitive games are needed to help challenge the Downs, Derrys and Antrims of this world."

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