Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Pete McGrath relishing Fermanagh test

NewW Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath has stated that fans can expect to see a style of play rooted in his attacking principles.

Speaking last night only minutes after his appointment was confirmed at a meeting of the Fermanagh County Board, McGrath told the Belfast Telegraph: "I will be bringing a certain philosophy of football to Fermanagh and hoping that the players will be able to respond to that. At the end of the day you have to be pragmatic.

"In the '90s I was lucky enough to be working with a group of players who were highly talented and had marvellous forwards.

"What is in Fermanagh as regards forward play might not be up to that, I don't know that yet.

"But I will be going there trying to take a certain philosophy about how the game should be played, certain underlying core principles.

"And the players I will be dealing with, I will be trying my best that the type of football they play is going to be exciting, attractive, but it will be what will get the best possibility of success for the team.

"Every manager brings his own personality and his own beliefs about the game into the teams that he works with.

"That's the most important thing for any manager, to be yourself, with your own beliefs, approach, ethics. How teams should be trained and how teams should play. That's what I will be trying to bring with me to Fermanagh.

"It's like anything else in life, you sink or swim with your own principles and beliefs and that's what I will be doing."

The All-Ireland winning Down coach in 1991 and 1994 was contacted about the vacant Erne manager's post only on Monday and after a brief period of consideration met with county board officials on Wednesday night.

Given the timescale, McGrath has yet to put in place a backroom team, but he expects to have this in solved within a week.

"It will take the next four or five days to set in place the full management team. That will be done in due course," he added.

In a twist of fate, McGrath had been an independent overseer of the process that saw Tyrone legend Peter Canavan interviewed and appointed in 2011.

It was revealed at the county board meeting that 14 candidates had been approached and four interviewed.

Despite 11 years out of senior inter-county management, the Rostrevor man has taken charge of Down under-21 and minor sides, as well as being involved with An Riocht and Bryansford.

The time out of the senior realm may have energised him and he maintains he is well aware of what is required in the modern game.

"The core principles of what make up our game are still there," he said.

"The approach to the game and the preparation, all these things have evolved and taking on a life of their own.

"Something as fundamental as team preparation has been revolutionised over the last 10 or 11 years.

"I know the Down teams worked exceptionally hard and were exceptionally fit. There is a modern approach now to training and you have to be up to speed with that.

"The modern day player expects certain standards in the way he's trained, the way he's prepared and the way he's coached.

"The challenge of any management team is to meet those expectations and maybe exceed them and bring them onto new levels," he said.

"You see with your own eyes what's happening.

"It's not as if you have gone to the moon and suddenly come back and it's totally different," he added.

McGrath's last job was with the Down minors, and he has been involved with Down club Bryansford in recent years.

His greatest triumph, however, was to win Sam Maguire with Down in 1991 and 1994.

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