Fermanagh manager Peter Canavan has stated that last week's talks with the County Board were "very constructive" and the Tyrone man is already planning ahead for 2013. Canavan had said after the defeat to Cavan in the All Ireland Qualifiers that a number of issues needed to be addressed and the County Board wasted no time in dealing with this last week and swiftly announced on Sunday evening that the two time All Ireland winner would remain at the helm for the 2013 season.
And Canavan believes that, like the management, the County Board want what is best for the players of the county, and that if everybody can learn from 2012 then then the county will be in a much stronger position for next season.
"There were a number of things that needed to be sorted out. I would be of the opinion that when you have such a small panel to pick from in Fermanagh you have to make the best of what you have, and give the players every opportunity to perform at their best. It's vital that there is a serious amount of work done now and hopefully things will be put in place to ensure that the best players in Fermanagh have every opportunity to be the best they can be, and just to see how far they can go. Hopefully that's in place and they have that support as we prepare for 2013," said Canavan.
He added: "We had a very constructive meeting with the County Board and they do want the best for this group of players and that is encouraging from our point of view as well. Certainly we've made mistakes as a management since the start of the year and there are things that we would have done differently. I'm sure the county board have the same approach as well and we will be in a better position for 2013." The Cavan defeat may have saw the season end on a disappointing note, but having let the dust settle, Canavan feels there are postives to take out of that game.
"Whilst the last 10 or 15 minutes of the Cavan game were very disappointing, it shouldn't take away from the fact that the boys played some of their best football of the year against Cavan and put themselves in a very strong position and looked comfortable. So from that point of view it encourages me and hopefully we can build on that in the months ahead." And the Fermanagh boss is already putting down plans for next year. Given Canavan's late appointment into the post, Fermanagh were left chasing other counties in regards fitness entering the National League, but he is keen to make sure that won't be the case when the 2013 season rolls around.
"We're very much thinking and planning ahead, and now is the time to do that. We'll have time to work with the players pre-Christmas and we would like to think we will make use of that time and the players will be entering the McKenna Cup and the National League in a stronger position than they were this year. There were a number of players who weren't in the condition you would expect from county players and hopefully that won't be the case this time around. There is a serious amount of work to be done, there is no doubt about that. We have ground to catch up and hopefully we have the time to do that." He also feels that having had a season working with the players, he now has a better idea of what he has to work with and believes that they are an ambitious group.
"We were beginning last year not knowing exactly who we had or knowing what sort of condition they were in, be it mentally or physically. Now we are in a much better position, we know exactly what we have and I would be of the belief that the boys that are there are ambitious, they want to improve and they want to get better and if they want it bad enough they will get there," he commented.
The six time All Star also envisages changes to the squad. A number of players came in and showed up well towards the end of the season in in-house games while the management will also be keeping a close eye on how players perform for their clubs in the club championship, which is due to commence at the end of the month.
"We had a few in-house games were a number of players came in and performed very well so not only will we be looking at them but across the board at the club championship games. That's important, as it's often you see players who are very talented and have all the skills, the full reportoire, but on the big day they can't do it in the white heat of championship. So that's an ideal opportunity to look at players and if they can perform in the white heat of championship then we would be keen to see them wearing the county colours. There will definitely be additions to the panel and we'll just have to wait to see the extent of those additions," said Canavan.