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Our spirit is spurring bid to land title: Gallagher

 

By John Campbell

When Rory Gallagher agreed to succeed Peter McGrath and become Fermanagh's new manager, he had not quite bargained for competing with the likes of Brazil, Spain and Mexico for the oxygen of publicity.

Yet the former St Gall's All-Ireland Club winner could hardly be happier than to see his native county's build-up to Sunday's Ulster Senior Football Championship final against Donegal sharing the spotlight with some of the greatest teams on the planet battling for the World Cup.

And it's not because of any hint of arrogance or ambition.

"No, certainly not, it all boils down to enjoyment," insisted Gallagher. "The fact of the matter is that if we don't make what we are involved in as management fun and enjoyable for our players then there is no way that they will give everything to it.

"They want to get the most out of themselves and enjoy it at the same time. There are comparisons made between Fermanagh and Donegal but there are a number of Donegal players who have been there for some time and you will never see any of them complain about the commitment demanded from them or this or that.

"They enjoyed it, and I am sure they are still enjoying it. People like Michael Murphy, Frank McGlynn, Paddy McGrath and Patrick McBrearty are still enjoying playing with all that this entails.

"We said when we came into Fermanagh as a management team that this has to be enjoyable and the enjoyment comes from competing."

The spirit and camaraderie which has been fostered under Gallagher's watch has sparked a wave of optimism within the county, although this is very much tinged with reality given Donegal's form in the Championship to date.

In two matches against Cavan and Down they have totted up a mammoth 4-42, but Gallagher believes that Fermanagh have acquired self-belief that can stand them in good stead on Sunday.

"I don't see Fermanagh as a weaker county," he insisted. "We may be perceived as that and described as that but I certainly don't see it that way."

It was because of this perception that eyebrows were raised when Gallagher omitted the free-scoring Seamus Quigley from his semi-final starting line-up against Monaghan for disciplinary reasons.

"It was a situation that you would rather not have to deal with," admitted Gallagher.

"I was delighted to make the call to Seamie last year to join the squad, he has done an awful lot right since then and he is a great character.

"It's not a one size fits all, that has never been my approach to management.

"Seamie is a really good guy. There was an incident that had to be dealt with, which it was, and we have moved on."

Quigley is in line to return at left-full-forward against Donegal on Sunday and his experience and scoring prowess will undoubtedly help to bolster an attack from which Gallagher would have liked to have seen more scores against both Armagh and Monaghan.

"Hopefully we will be on target more often on Sunday," he added.

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