Confidence and belief are the two keys for the Fermanagh minor team according to their captain Eoin Beacom. The Enniskillen Gaels club man is looking forward to the challenge that Monaghan represent and is adamant that he and his team-mates have nothing to fear from what lies ahead.
“People sometimes say you have nothing to lose. I don’t really agree with that because we have plenty to lose. We have a championship match to lose and after all the hard work that we have put in this year we want to make sure we go out and do everything we can to win the game,” Beacom explained.
The big midfielder was part of the minor team that lost to Antrim last year but he argues that the team this year are much better placed to perform well on the big stage: “I think to be fair last year we were very young and so many of us are back this year and that experience should stand to us and I think we have really done a lot of work this year and know what way we want to play too.”
Beacom speaks highly of the management set up which consists of Phil O’Connor at the helm with coaches Shaun Doherty and Eoin Bradley.
“Training has been brilliant. Lots of different types of sessions and all the players have been working hard which is important too. And we really want to go out and perform to the best level we can. We have a real belief that we can go out and compete with anyone and we have a confidence in how we play and a confidence in our ability. Monaghan are a very good team but we are going to go into the game fully expecting to play well and full of belief as well.”
That belief has been borne out from a league campaign that included a defeat of eventual league winners Tyrone and a draw with Donegal while they also experienced narrow defeats to Derry, Antrim and Armagh. “We showed in the league that we could play against anyone. We beat Tyrone and lost by two points to Derry away in Celtic Park but we were terrible in the first half and were nine points down. We know that if we play well then there is not much between us and any team in Ulster and the league definitely showed us that and we took a lot of positives from that campaign.”
On captaining his county Beacom acknowledged that it was an honour; “Yeah, I’m very proud obviously. Getting the chance to lead your county out and lead these group of players out is brilliant. But we have so many leaders on the team and we need that, every man has to step up when we play Monaghan.”
Monaghan are one of the bookies favourites to lift the Ulster title but Beacom says that the Erne lads are ready: “We know that they are a very good side but just like they won’t fear us we don’t fear them. We know they are good but we want to go out there and make sure we play like we can. We have that belief that we can win the game and we have said that all year. We have said if any man doesn’t believe we can win then they should leave so we are determined to do our best and get the result.”
This year has been hugely encouraging for the minors to date and there is no doubt that they possess the ability and more importantly as Beacom alluded to, the belief to compete and hold their own in any company.