Fermanagh hurling manager, Sean Duffy, is hopeful that his young guns will step up to the plate this Saturday in the first group game in the Lory Meagher Cup.

The Erne men travel to Breffni Park to take on Cavan in what will be a curtain raiser to the Ulster senior football clash between Cavan and Monaghan.

Preparations have been going well to date despite some familiar obstacles:

“It can always be difficult with a lot of club football on and then you have men doing exams, but they are important, so we don’t mind that of course.

“But I have to say when we have met things have been going great for us. The boys have knuckled down and they are looking forward to the challenge.”

The sides met in the league with Fermanagh winning although the game itself was something of a dead rubber but as manager Duffy points out the Breffni men have been a tough nut to crack in championship for Fermanagh:

“I wouldn’t read too much into that league game. Cavan will have their Cuala boys back and they are a big help to them, and we haven’t managed to get the better of them in Championship since they reformed so that is the target for us on Saturday night.”

Cavan have three players from former All Ireland Senior Club champions Cuala among their ranks and there is no doubt that they make them a much better team when they are on the pitch. They qualify under a GAA rule that allows players to switch from larger counties to so called weaker counties.

Fermanagh do not have any imports and Duffy is happy to go with the young guns that he has at his disposal:

“I think it is important to keep promoting your own youth. I want our young players to know if they work hard and train that they will have a chance to play for their county.”

Shea Curran is out for the first two games due to picking up two red cards in the league while Rory Porteous is a doubt with a hamstring injury. Otherwise it is a clean bill of health for Duffy who is likely to hand championship debuts to a number of his young charges.

Twins Ciaran and Caolan Duffy have both impressed to date along with Jimmy Tormey and Nathan Timoney. Those four are all in their first year while Barry McPhillips and Dylan Bannon have continued to improve into their second season with the seniors.

Of course, there is still plenty of experienced laced through the squad with John Duffy, Ryan Bogue and Andrew Breslin among the older guard who continue to be key components of the team.

For Duffy and his management team the occasion is something that is something of an unknown for their younger players, but they are confident that they are made of the swimming variety and not sinking:

“It is a championship game and there will be a big crowd there too and that will be new to some of the boys but they have stood up to everything so far and we are confident they will stand up again on Saturday night.”

Lancashire and Leitrim are the other two teams in the Lory Meagher Cup with each team playing each other once and the top two going through to the final and Duffy believes that getting off to a good start is vital.

“Of course you are not out of it if you lose and you are not in a final if you win but I do think getting off to a winning start is really important. It sets you up and gives you confidence and that is vital for us. It is going to be a testing game, there is always a bit of bite when we play Cavan but we are really looking forward to it now and can’t wait for the game.”