Fit-again Owens eyes Down for return
Long-serving defender Barry Owens is stepping up his bid to claim a starting place in the Fermanagh side that will face Down in the first round of the Ulster championship.
The Teemore Shamrocks clubman has spent the past eleven years serving his county and is particularly anxious to enjoy what would be a first taste of provincial success.
Owens came on as a replacement in last Saturday’s Division Four final against Wicklow having missed previous games because of injury and has committed himself to a rigorous personal fitness regime in advance of the all-important clash with Down.
“I would be particularly keen to play against Down,” says 30 year-old Owens, “I have pleasant memories of our win over them in Enniskillen in 2009 but that match counts for nothing in the context of this forthcoming clash. I don’t think we did ourselves justice against Wicklow and with home advantage in Enniskillen I honestly feel that we can do a lot better against Down.”
When Fermanagh imploded last year, the then skipper Owens was among a handful of players who tried to keep the flag flying against heavy odds.
“Obviously it was a difficult year but that’s all behind us now. Peter Canavan has come in and has been doing a good job but I suppose we will really be measured on the progress we make in the championship,” says Owens.
Four years ago Fermanagh reached the Ulster final when they were beaten by Armagh after a replay. Owens came off the bench to score a spectacular goal in their stunning semi-final win over fancied Derry at Healy Park, Omagh.
“It was disappointing to lose to Armagh in that replay because in the drawn game we had been on top for a good spell. But there is renewed spirit and confidence within the side now although we face a very big task against Down.”