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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Offaly boss Pat Flanagan fears another Fermanagh ambush

4 July 2015; Offaly manager Pat Flanagan. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship, Round 2A, Offaly v Kildare. O'Connor Park, Tullamore, Co. Offaly. Picture credit: Piaras ? M?dheach / SPORTSFILE
4 July 2015; Offaly manager Pat Flanagan. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship, Round 2A, Offaly v Kildare. O'Connor Park, Tullamore, Co. Offaly. Picture credit: Piaras ? M?dheach / SPORTSFILE

PAT FLANAGAN expects his former Westmeath charges to re-embrace an attacking game-plan against Fermanagh tomorrow - but he fears they could run into the same 'back door' trouble that he encountered two summers ago.

The Offaly manager's 2013 swansong in the Westmeath hotseat was a deflating home defeat to Fermanagh, coming after a 16-point Leinster exit to Dublin.

Now it'sTom Cribbin's turn to seek recovery from another heavy Dublin defeat - this time by 13 points in the Leinster SFC final, albeit after frustrating them for close to 40 minutes with a new blanket defensive system.

"I would imagine they would go back to the way they played against Wexford and Meath in particular," Flanagan surmised. "They got a lot of support, the way they played against Meath, and may have lost a lot particularly after the second half against Dublin.

"Obviously the game-plan was working quite well in the first half but I felt - when the two goals were scored - that they would have come out more. Nine down against Meath, they threw caution to the wind ... I felt they would do that against Dublin.

"I would expect Westmeath to go back to what they did against Meath, because they have seriously good footballers and need to get a link between defence and the forward line to make that work."

However, from his own experience, Flanagan warned: "When you take a heavy defeat, you need a little time to recover. I'm not sure they will have had enough."

He cited Fermanagh's momentum, after beating Antrim and Roscommon, whereas Westmeath are planning without stricken marquee forward John Heslin.

"That might be the main difference because Seán Quigley is playing exceptionally well for Fermanagh," he added.

WESTMEATH

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