Fermanagh legend Peter McGinnity believes that Peter Canavan is poised to once again weave his magic in the Ulster Championship — only this time off the field of play.
As the Tyrone icon prepares to make his managerial debut in the competition with the Ernesiders, McGinnity is convinced that the self-belief which has been engendered in the squad allied to the return of several experienced players from injury and a palpable determination to atone for the disappointing Division Four final loss to Wicklow can help the side mount a sustained championship journey.
McGinnity, who has in the recent past piloted Roslea to two Fermanagh senior football championship titles, is better positioned than most observers to weigh up the prospects of his native county who reached the final in 2008 only to fall to Armagh after a replay.
“I believe that the draw has been favourable to Fermanagh on two fronts this year,” points out the straight-talking McGinnity.
“They have avoided the preliminary round and they have been given home advantage against Down in the quarter-finals. You could have very few complaints on that score. Now it is up to the team to rise to the challenge and show that they can be genuine contenders for the title.”
There is a consensus that this year’s title race could be rather more open than it has been in the past decade when Armagh and Tyrone were the dominant forces and McGinnity agrees.
“It is often said that in the Ulster Championship any team can beat any other side on a given day but while this is certainly not always true, I think it holds more currency this year,” observes McGinnity.
“The way the draw has panned out throws up some exciting possibilities and while Fermanagh will do well to look no further than this upcoming game with Down, a number of sides have reasonable grounds for optimism.”
Canavan’s charisma, tactical prowess, man-management skills and rapport with the players and fans have impressed McGinnity to a huge extent.
“He has transformed Fermanagh’s fortunes and there is a confidence and buoyancy about the side that are refreshing. Several of the players are from my own club Roslea,” added McGinnity.