Dr McKenna Cup: Fermanagh boss Canavan has plan to win fitness fight
Fermanagh manager Peter Canavan is well aware that one swallow does not make a summer.
His side may have overcome Antrim in their Power NI Dr McKenna Cup opener on Sunday, but Canavan will not allow this to breed the slightest edge of complacency for next weekend’s confrontation with Queen’s.
The students competed vigorously for the best part of their contest against Tyrone before eventually succumbing, but Canavan acknowledges that their fitness levels and commitment could pose problems for his team at Brewster Park, Enniskillen.
“While I was very pleased with the attitude of this Fermanagh team last Sunday, I had been a bit concerned going into the game about our own overall fitness,” says Canavan.
“However, while I felt my players lasted the pace well there is still work to be done. I think that next weekend’s game will be a further opportunity for us to get up to real match fitness.”
Seamus Quigley scored 1-8 of Fermanagh’s 2-11 against Antrim in a stand-out performance.
And Shane Lyons, Barry Owens and Niall Bogue were among the old hands who inspired the young guns in the side.
The spotlight will now focus strongly on Quigley against Queen’s although Canavan is hoping to elicit a strong performance from his attack as a whole.
“While Seamus did very well against Antrim, there are other players in there who are well capable of taking scores,” states Canavan.
Queen’s manager Cathal O’Rourke — who played against Canavan on several occasions while he was an integral part of the Armagh attack some years ago — believes Fermanagh will represent a big test for his side.
“We have to deal with the Fermanagh attack as a unit,” says O’Rourke.
“I thought my players did very well for two-thirds of the game against Tyrone on Sunday before falling away. If we can keep going for the full 70 minutes it might be a different story.”
There is now the very real prospect that the McKenna Cup will throw up some particularly tasty confrontations before this month is out.
Tyrone’s win over Queen’s and Canavan’s successful debut as Fermanagh boss has further whetted appetites for the meeting between the sides on Wednesday week at Healy Park, Omagh.
Canavan, though, has made it clear that for the moment he is focused on Sunday’s meeting with Queen’s and because university sides do not play at home in the McKenna Cup, this means that Canavan will have a second game at Brewster Park, Enniskillen in order to streamline his side before they take to the road.