Fermanagh minors will begin their Ulster League programme this Saturday with a home game against Donegal at Brewster Park.

Under the watchful eye of new manager Phil O’Connor and his backroom team, preparations have gone well so far for the forthcoming season and O’Connor states that first and foremost he wants his side to be very competitive in a tight looking group that also includes Antrim, Tyrone and Derry.

Although in his first year in the position, O’Connor has a good understanding of the talent available having managed the U17 squad last season and he is keen to see them continue to develop over the course of this season.

“I suppose our overall goal for the league would be to try and get out of the group and make the semi-final. Certainly, this is a bunch of players who over the last 12 months have been competitive against every team that they have played against and we would be hopeful that we can continue that in the league.

“Ultimately, if you are competitive in games it provides you with the opportunity of winning and we want to be winning games as we haven’t done that too many times at minor level in recent years. We would be looking for the players to develop and improve further over the next few months.” said O’Connor.

Fermanagh have played a number of challenge games in the build up to the start of the league, recording a win over Cavan and draws with Leitrim and Sligo while their only loss came against Sligo.

O’Connor will feel that he has plenty of talent at his disposal as he heads into the league.

Defensively, Ultan Kelm, Luke Flanagan and Johnny Cassidy are going to be key players for the Ernemen while in the middle of the park they will be looking for big performances from the likes of Eoin Beacom and Jack Love.

And further forward, Lorcan McStravick, Cameron McBrien and John Reihill will be expected to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

O’Connor knows though that they face a tough opener when Donegal come to Brewster Park on Saturday.

“It will be a tough game but we’ll be looking to make a good start to our campaign.

“We want the players to work hard and produce a performance that gives us something to build on for the rest of the games,” he said.

The Donegal game will be followed by an away game against Antrim on March 18 before Tyrone are the visitors to Brewster Park on April 1. And Fermanagh conclude the group stages with a game against Derry at Owenbeg on April 8.