Fermanagh’s John O’Neill is preparing to take his managerial baptism in the Ulster Championship against an intimidating backdrop.
Not only has he lost the four experienced players who withdrew some weeks ago but he now has injury concerns over Conor Quigley (knee), Barry Mulrone (ankle), John O’Flanagan (finger) and Hugh Brady (hamstring).
In addition, there are real fears that the scourge of emigration could infiltrate the county squad. At a recent meeting of the Fermanagh County Board, 13 club players sought to have transfers to units of the Association outside the country sanctioned.
But O’Neill remains steadfast in his preparations for Fermanagh’s showdown with Derry at Celtic Park a fortnight hence.
“Derry is our total focus. We are hopeful everyone will recover in time. We will have six or seven boys making Ulster Championship debuts. We have confidence in our players,” says O’Neill.