Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

No Erne role for trainer McElkennon

No go: Martin McElkennon will not be joining Pete McGrath

New Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath is expected to finalise his backroom team over the weekend, but it will not include trainer Martin McElkennon, as had previously been speculated.

McElkennon had been involved with Fermanagh previously for the 2003 season, before going on be involved with the Cavan, Monaghan and Meath set-ups.

He was understood to be agreeable to a supervisory role, but was not keen on the full-on commitment that county football requires, having had a year out after his spell alongside Seamus McEnaney in Meath drew to a close at the end of the 2012 season.

Having just accepted the role last Wednesday, McGrath has had limited time to compile a backroom team but is understood to be arranging trial games next week.

With anecdotal evidence of other counties already engaged in regular collective training –contravening the ban on doing so – Fermanagh's honesty could count against them as they prepare for the Dr McKenna Cup. They are placed in Group B with games against St Mary's, Derry and Monaghan.

Meanwhile, county Chairman Patsy Dolan has expressed his satisfaction that the Erne county have made a good appointment in the wake of Peter Canavan's departure in September.

"It was a long, protracted process. There was huge interest in the post. We spoke to a total of 14 people altogether," Dolan said at the draw for the McKenna Cup.

He continued, "The decision in the end was that we would go for Pete McGrath. It was unanimously accepted and we are delighted."

Something that attracted Fermanagh chiefs to the 1991 and 1994 All-Ireland winning manager was the range of levels he has coached at, with Dolan saying, "Any man that has managed at club and county level at all grades, Railway Cup at Provincial level and the Irish International Rules, there is no question of his ability.

"I would have to say that (of) all the people we would have spoken to, Pete McGrath stood out."

There is some questioning the haste of the approach to McGrath, with McGrath himself admitting that he was only asked to interview on Monday 4th, conducted the interview on Wednesday 6th, before being named as manager the following night.

Dolan responded by saying: "It was a long process. We spoke to people, contacted them as we wanted to speak to them."