It’s been a long time since Belnaleck were dining at the top table in Fermanagh club football but having competed in the senior championship last year after winning the 2018 Intermediate title, they will now play their league football in Division One having clinched promotion last year.

With the club returning to the top flight for the first time since the 1950s, captain Kane Connor explains that it is something that everybody at the club is relishing.

“I remember going out when I was only U12 or U14 and you only want to play senior football for your club but at that stage we were only a junior club so to finally be here, playing not only senior championship but also Division One, means a lot, especially to those who have put a lot into the club and thought they might never see that day,” he said.

The Art McMurroughs are a club moving in the right direction having been playing in the Junior Championship only three years ago and Connor feels that the chance for them to play against the best in the county on a regular basis will only help to improve them.

“We want to be playing against the likes of Derrygonnelly, Ederney, Belleek and Roslea and we got a taste for it in the championship last year.

“We are only going to learn by playing those better teams and I’m sure it will only help playing them week in, week out.

“We are still a very young side and a lot of those younger boys, it won’t faze them playing against these better teams but the key for us is to learn from those games,” he added.

Due to the Covid-19 crisis the season has been shortened and it was decided that there would be no relegation or promotion in the leagues in Fermanagh this year.

And Connor states that from their point of view that will help Belnaleck.

“It is a free year for us in that there is no relegation to worry about so it is perfect for us to test ourselves and learn in Division One this year and then next season we should have a feel for it and know what to expect.”

The Art McMurroughs start their league campaign on Sunday away to Erne Gaels but Connor admits that the championship game against Ederney, who Belnaleck defeated at the quarter final stage last year, will be their main focus.

“We can go out and try things but we will be building towards championship and I don’t think any club will be thinking any different this year.

“We’ll use the league as a building platform and try boys out here and there and try and get ready for the championship game against Ederney,” he said.