Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

We will plot our own glory path, insists Fermanagh manager Peter canavan

Erne boss won't be using derry as blueprint

Fermanagh manager Peter Canavan

Fermanagh manager Peter Canavan has stated that Derry's successful revenge mission against Down will hold no relevance to Fermanagh's second meeting against Cavan, unless his team eliminate their mistakes from the first day.

"Just because it worked for Derry, doesn't mean it will work for us," Canavan said ahead of the round two qualifier this weekend against Cavan in Kingspan Breffni Park. When the sides met in the first round of the Ulster Championship, Terry Hyland's side triumphed 0-13 to 0-11.

He cautioned, "If we don't improve upon the first day round – if we make the same mistakes – then we are going to get the same result."

Injury worries continue to dog Fermanagh. After appearing as a half-time substitute in the first round qualifier win over Westmeath, Ruairi Corrigan pulled a hamstring and will not be available for Saturday. The game will also come too early for long-term absences Daryl Keenan and Barry Mulrone.

The manner of the victory in Mullingar – sealing the one-point triumph with a last-gasp point through corner-back John Woods – provided a much-needed adrenaline shot through the squad after the Cavan loss.

Canavan explained, "Over half the boys had never won a Championship match, never had that feeling of coming through a tough Championship match and having won.

"So they have now experienced that, they have enjoyed it and I am hoping they want more. They will have that opportunity now on Saturday."

He also paid tribute to the elder statesmen of the team, such as captain Ryan McCluskey, Marty McGrath, Shane McCabe and Barry Owens, all of whom are now in their 30's.

"For fellas to come back like that, to make sacrifices at the stage of their careers that they are at, of course they wanted some end product too," comments Canavan. "They needed that every bit as much as the younger lads who haven't won a game.

"They needed to experience winning, more so than performing well and coming away with nothing. There was certainly a release there, but I also have to say there has been a very mature approach to it.

"On the Tuesday night after the Westmeath game, the attitude was spot on and they were just looking forward to the next game, rather than dwelling on how they performed against Westmeath."

It was also, surprisingly, Canavan's first Championship win as a manager, including his two years in charge of home club Errigal Ciaran. However, he maintains it wasn't playing on his mind.

"Certainly, I didn't feel any pressure, I was more than happy with how the team was progressing. But that doesn't take away from the fact you still want to win. You want to be associated with winners and it was very pleasing from that point of view. I was happy with the management set-up, with the way we were playing and I don't think, regardless of the win, that we could have done much different."

He adds: "The other thing you must realise that in every game Fermanagh goes into, you are going into as underdogs. People don't expect us to win.

"At the start of the league we were favourites to go down. In all the games we played in the Championship so far we were going in as underdogs.

"They have proved a point, proved that what we have been telling them as a management team is that they are good enough to compete with the better teams. The Westmeath game proved that."

In grabbing a win in the midlands, a startling statistic emerged. The Erne county recorded twenty wides across the game, which was some going, considering they still rattled up 3-10.

Curing that ailment will be of paramount importance, with Canavan confirming that the obvious solution will be shooting practise, but it goes a bit deeper than that.

"The other aspect was decision-making. Were we shooting from the right areas? Were we shooting under pressure? Was it the right decision?" asks the two-time All-Ireland winner with Tyrone.

"So we have to look at that. We also have to see that we scored 3-10 in a Championship match and we did create 30-odd scoring chances. So we are doing a lot of things right when we are getting into those positions to get a shot away."

He went on, "No doubt about it, it is something we want to work on because we know against the likes of Cavan, we won't get half the amount of scoring opportunities, such is the way they are set up. That means that when we do get those opportunities, it is imperative that we make them count."

With this set to be the third meeting this year between the neighbouring sides, the time has come for the stiffest test of Canavan's men.

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