When the call came from Johnny Garrity to join his backroom team with Fermanagh Ladies Dermot Feely was quick to grasp the opportunity.

And the former Fermanagh and Derrygonnelly Harps goalkeeper explains that he is delighted that he accepted the invitation.

“It has been a breath of fresh air to be honest with you,” said Feely. “When Johnny approached me I had been doing a bit of coaching with Derrygonnelly U18s and U21s but I decided to give it a go and it has been really enjoyable.

“There is a good group of ladies there and the main thing is that they are willing to learn and they all want to take Fermanagh to the next level.

“Look, it was a bit of a change to get involved in Ladies football but the girls are every bit as professional as the men are. They train just as hard and they want to better themselves. They are great to work with.”

Feely is tasked with working with the goalkeepers but there was one aspect that surprised him.

“The goalkeeping drills are very similar to what you would do with the men but the surprising thing for me when I went in was that the girls would never really have had goalkeeping coaching before which is amazing but they have worked really hard.”

And he stresses that it is an area that they have plenty of competition in.

“At the start of the year we would have had Donna Owens in but she unfortunately done her cruciate ligament and then Aisling Healy had to pull out because of work commitments. You have Roisin Gleeson who has been there a long time and we drafted in Shauna Murphy and Sarah Keenan and they are all very capable keepers and they are all pushing each other on for that number one position. There is competition there and that is what you want,” he added.

Indeed, Feely is pleased with how the year as a whole has gone for the squad with promotion from Division Four secured while they also reached the Ulster final before being beaten by Antrim.

“At the start of the year the first aim was to get promotion out of Division Four and we did that. All year we have just taken it one game at a time and one competition at a time and that approach has served us well,” he said.

And he feels that while there was disappointment in losing to the Saffrons in the provincial decider, the squad has learnt the lessons from that game going into the All Ireland series.

“It is never easy to be beaten in any final but I suppose you would rather lose that final than be put out in the All Ireland. It is a learning process for us all and there were lessons that came out of that game and the girls knew what they had to improve on for the All Ireland series,” he said.

So, now it is on to Sunday’s final against Louth and Feely is hoping that Fermanagh can go on and lift the title.

“There is no doubt Louth are a strong side and have some very good players. We know it will be a tough game but we believe in the girls and hopefully we can get the job done.”