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Keenan repays show of faith by Erne boss

Matthew Keenan has certainly lost no time in repaying the faith that Fermanagh manager Malachy O'Rourke has shown in him.

The sturdily-built centrethreequarters bagged two goals in his first two games in the National League against Longford and Leitrim and has been showing the kind of authority and composure as playmaker that suggests he could enjoy an extended stay in the side.

He was not named in the original Fermanagh line-up for last Sunday's game against Sligo but in the event he turned out and landed five points as the Ernesiders maintained their unbeaten sequence in the competition.

Keenan's pedigree is, of course, more than familiar to O'Rourke.

The Erne boss coached him at schools level and has monitored his progress carefully since then. Indeed, the talented Keenan is one of a handful of new faces that O'Rourke has pitched into his side with immediate success but the manager sounds a note of warning.

"It's very early days yet. People are already talking about promotion but the league is not even half over. There are very difficult games on the horizon and the real test of all the players will be just how they cope when the going gets tough," states O'Rourke who has made a decisive impact since taking over the Erne reins from Charlie Mulgrew.

Keenan cut his teeth with the Enniskillen Gaels club which has flirted with Ulster Club glory without quite getting their hands on the provincial accolade. He has honed his skills along side experienced players like Tom Brewster and Colm Bradley in the Gaels side and has proved a willing learner.

"The fact that he has got a couple of goals for Fermanagh already will certainly have helped his confidence and that's a bonus. Players need to be comfortable within themselves if they are to give full expression to their talents," adds O'Rourke.

On Sunday, Keenan is again expected to have a key role when Fermanagh meet Wexford in a top of the table clash that has created huge interest even outside the boundaries of both counties.

Belfast Telegraph


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