Soccer star McCluskey may Erne glory with Fermanagh
Ryan McCluskey has just shared in one sporting triumph - and now he could find himself in the frame for another.
McCluskey played a leading role in helping to bring Portadown back into the Irish premier League when they overcame Donegal Celtic 2-0 in a crucial tie at the week-end.
Now the strapping utility player may become immersed in Fermanagh’s preparations for the Ulster Senior Football Championship.
Erne boss Malachy O’Rourke has indicated that he would welcome McCluskey on board - hardly surprising, of course, given the impressive form he displayed last year in helping to take the team into the Ulster final against Armagh which the Ernesiders eventually lost after a replay.
McCluskey proved one of Fermanagh’s outstanding players last summer, his commanding displays at centre-half-back underscoring his county’s most dynamic championship surge since 2004 when they reached the All Ireland semi-final only to lose out to Mayo - again after a replay!
McCluskey’s availability would certainly be a bonus for Fermanagh right now and given that there are no questions over his fitness, there is still the chance that he could get some game time against Down in the opening Ulster Championship tie at Brewster Park, Enniskillen on Sunday week.
“Obviously we would like to have a player of Ryan’s calibre on board but we wil have to see how things go. He has had his soccer commitments of late and missed the National League, of course. But he is an experienced player who is familiar with our set-up,” said Fermanagh boss O’Rourke.
Competition for starting places in the Fermanagh defence is already keen but the inclusion of McCluskey in the shake-up would certainly add spice to the build-up to the confrontation with Down.
Fermanagh have been demoted from Division Two of the National League after just one season and O’Rourke is targetting a vibrant Championship campaign to atone for this setback.
“It was a big disappointment for us to go straight back down again in the league. We now have a chance to show what we can do in the Championship and it is up to us to regain our pride. The players are aware of this and naturally we would want to have everyone possible on board for this mission,” added O’Rourke.