Fermanagh hit the ground running, but Canavan urges caution
There weren't too many getting carried away with fanciful chat after Fermanagh's defeat of the reigning All-Ireland champions Donegal at Brewster Park on Wednesday night.
It was a shadow squad of what the Tir Chonaill men could field, something that Erne manager Peter Canavan was quick to point out.
Nonetheless, there were signs there that things are slightly different in the second year of the managerial reign of Tyrone's former All-Ireland-winning captain.
By the time he took over in late 2011, there was not time to conduct a pre-season training programme, something that was to later catch up on the county and was exposed in the Championship.
On Wednesday night however, there was a snap to their play, demonstrative of the gruelling work they have committed to since returning to training in October.
“Tonight was about winning it was about performances and there were a lot of good performances out there,” commented Canavan.
“The boys also know that there is plenty still to work on. There were a lot of those Donegal players on the Donegal panel and the young lads were trying to make an impression so they came up here for the win and those fellas tried
their best so it was a competitive game.”
After laying a base of fitness over the winter, Fermanagh are now facing two more games within four days to conclude their McKenna Cup programme.
While it was important to begin with a win, there is the distinct possibility that Canavan will wish to see some new faces this Sunday against St Mary's, including the likes of Aidan Breen, and some of the St Michael's MacRory-winning team from last year, such as the Cullen twins Lee and Che, Niall Shannon and also Ryan Hyde. The emphasis will now switch from training, to maintenance, reveals Canavan.
“It is a busy seven days,” Canavan explained.
“As you see from the game tonight the ground was heavy and going into the last ten or 15 minutes it took a lot out of the legs.”
“And I suppose it is trying to keep ourselves fresh from that to face St Mary's who will have benefited from having a week's rest between games.
“But we look forward to it St Mary's against Monaghan was a good competitive game and so should our game with St Mary's,” the Erne boss said.
Meanwhile, a special coaching clinic will be held this Saturday, January 12, at St Columban's school, Kilkeel, Co Down.
Hosted by head of PE in the school Steven Poacher, the event is in its' third year of operation and offers a range of specialised workshops, such as ‘Maximising scoring opportunities', delivered by Championship-winning coach Jim McCorry, and ‘Getting the most from your goalkeeper', which will be delivered by current Down senior goalkeeper Brendan McVeigh.
For more information or to get a place on the course, email email@example.com.