With the search currently underway to bring together the best U20 footballers in the county, new manager Ollie Fay is relishing the challenge that faces him.

The Ballyconnell man was appointed to the position in December, and along with his management team have been casting their eye over players at trials in recent weeks as they begin preparation for their Ulster Championship clash with Donegal in June.

“It is early stages. It’s just kind of organising the trials and I wouldn’t be familiar with the players and it is just seeing the players in trial and seeing the ability and just basically the month of January is putting a panel together by observing the players and their talent and ability and commitment and if they want to be with the U20 set-up.”

Trials have been held over the last two weeks and with a large number of players missing due to other footballing commitments, the trials have given those players that are not involved with teams still playing competitively the chance to shine and lay down an early markers.

Enniskillen Gaels U21s, St. Michael’s MacRory team and the three players currently on the Fermanagh senior squad have not trialled yet so Fay and his team have had the chance to look at footballers from the rest of the county.

“It gives other fellas a chance to prove themselves. It was good to see the rest of the players and we did notice 10 to 15 lads who were competent enough and showed well in the trial.”

With a Development League expected to be played sometime between March and April, Fay will be well settled in. The Ballyconnell man will be looking to this league as a base for implementing game plans and getting players to be the best they can be in what he hopes will be a competitive competition.

“We would hope to be in a strong league to challenge the lads.

“My ambitions is to go as far as possible in the Championship. I know Donegal in June is going to be a stiff challenge but look it is up to us to put a good panel together, get them well organised, get them fit, get them confident so we can compete. I get this feeling that everybody kind of writes Fermanagh off and we will be going out to prepare these boys to put up a good challenge and take it from there.

“I’m hoping in this development league we will get good preparation for that challenge. We will be going to do the best we can it is as simple as that.”

Fay will look to the experience gained by those players who are currently playing at a high level to really push things on, with Ultan Kelm, Johnny Cassidy and Darragh McGurn who are part of the senior squad set to be important figures this year.

“They will be getting serious experience with Rory and the senior lads and hopefully they will be coming back and transferring that belief and confidence and experience with the rest of the players. And apart from them you have the Enniskillen players who are competing very well in Ulster and you would expect them to bring that experience of competing outside of Fermanagh and St. Michael’s is doing very well. You have players coming who have experience at a high level and who should be well able to take over the baton and the show leadership and bring the players on.

It’s a good group of players getting experience in different competitions and hopefully that will transfer to the U20 set-up.”

For now for Ollie, it is all about finalising his squad, getting down to training and giving them the best possible chance of competing in 2019.

“I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to starting working with the fellas along with the rest of the management team and we have a goal at the end of June and we will be doing our best to get these fellas prepared that they will go out and they will put in a serious performance.”