Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Canavan keen to grab positives

Fermanagh manager Peter Canavan is set to welcome returning stars

His team may have missed out on promotion to Division Two but this has not served to dilute Peter Canavan's passion for the Ulster Championship in the slightest.

The Fermanagh manager had hoped that his side might enter the provincial series as one of the top sixteen teams in the country but while this is not to be, the fact that they will not be in action until June 16 will prove a bonus of sorts.

With several key players currently recovering from injury, the Ernesiders will now be afforded maximum time in which to make the cut for the quarter-final game against the winners of the preliminary round contest between Armagh and Cavan.

Naturally, Canavan will digest every morsel of the action when these two counties launch the Ulster showpiece competition on May 19 but right now he is anxious that individual rehabilitation programmes are followed to the letter.

James Sherry, Sean Quigley, Eoin Donnelly, Ruairi Corrigan and Darryl Keenan are among his casualties and Canavan is hopeful that at least some of these players will be available to him for Fermanagh's championship opener.

Having already taken what he believes to be the positives from a league campaign that only wavered over the final hurdle the Tyrone legend is firing his side up for battle.

"I thought we played some good football during the league and it's maybe no coincidence that Meath and Monaghan, the teams who made the drop last year, have gone back up again," muses Canavan,

"We had been going well but then we suffered a few injuries and we found Meath a hot handful in our last match. They had got the scent of promotion in their nostrils and we could not halt them."

The return of James Sherry in particular would provide an extra layer of experience within the Fermanagh side while a fully-fit Eoin Donnelly would also be viewed as a major asset to the team.

It is a measure of Canavan's faith in the gangling Donnelly, still a comparative novice in terms of inter-county action, that he made him captain for three league games when Ryan McCluskey was unavailable.

"Eoin had been a big presence for us at midfield before this injury and he has been badly missed lately. The possible return of both himself and James Sherry would certainly offer us midfield options and we would badly need this whether we are playing Armagh or Cavan," points out Fermanagh liaison officer Ger Tracey.

Darryl Keenan (back strain), Sean Quigley (broken foot) and Ruairi Corrigan (broken jaw) will engage in a race against the clock to get fit with Canavan prepared to leave the door open to them for as long as possible.

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