Fermanagh U17s will have to wait until next Friday to get their Ulster League campaign underway after last Saturday’s game against Derry was postponed due to the weather.
And with the side having no game this weekend, they will open up their campaign on Friday March 16 with a home game against Antrim, with the sides also set to meet in the Ulster Championship on Saturday April 28.
Before that though they have a tough Ulster League group to negotiate with Tyrone and Donegal, along with Derry and Antrim providing Fermanagh’s opposition.
Fermanagh manager Phil O’Connor is happy enough with how preparations have been going to date.
“We have a decent group of players, they are a good bunch of footballers with good ability and it it is about how much they can develop and about having belief. We have played three challenge games so far against Cavan, Longford and Sligo and we have drawn all three and we have a game against Roscommon this week before we start our league campaign next Friday against Antrim,” he said.
The Fermanagh team will be back-boned by the St. Michael’s squad that reached the final of the Rannafast Cup and they will look to the likes of Joe McDade, Leigh Green, Josh Largo Elis, Darragh McBrien, Conor Love, Josh Horan, Rian McGovern and Fearghal Quinn to drive them forward.
And O’Connor, who is joined by Peter McGinnity, Sean Bradley and Stephen Jackson in his backroom team, is hoping for a successful league campaign.
“We’ll just be taking it one game at a time but we want to qualify for the semi-finals by the end of the group stages because those type of games are the best preparation for the championship,” he said.
However, he knows that to do that will take a big effort with games coming thick and fast.
“There is the potential that if we reach the semi-finals then we will have to play five games in 17 days which is a big ask, especially for smaller counties. We are looking forward to it getting started though at this stage and we are excited to see how we get on. We would hope that they will do well and I would expect them to be competitive,” stated O’Connor.
It will then be on to the championship and a new format sees a backdoor in operation in Ulster this year.
“I’m glad to see that because it guarantees you at least one more game. We have this crazy system where we train and train for one match so this is to be welcomed,” he said.