James Ferguson believes the mix of youth and experience will be key to a successful season for Enniskillen, as they get ready for their opening game of the Qualifying one campaign.

The 30 year old has committed to rugby on a full time basis this season after a couple of years focussing on Gaelic, and having witnessed at close hand the abilities of the younger members of the squad this season, he is hopeful of a good campaign.

“It’s a very young team now, so it’s quite different to the one I played in before, but it is exciting,” he said.

“There is real energy from the younger boys, and they are a lot more skilful than we would have been coming through from youth and from school into senior.

“Probably that’s down to the likes of Ashley Finlay coaching at ERGS. They have a lot better brain for the game than we would have had, and me and few of the other boys are really hanging on.

“Some of the young lads like Eddie Keys and Oisin Timoney are getting a bit of a voice now, and then you have the likes of Jack Harte, and James Carleton who came out of retirement, which helps a bit because you need a bit of experience in there at times”

Enniskillen have had a change in the head coach position, with Alastair Keys replacing Stevie Welsh in the top spot, and James is confident that the new coach can continue the successes odf recent seasons.

“With Alastair coming in it is a bit different, but Stevie Welsh put in a good platform over the last five years, and he had a fair bit of success.

“It will be a bit of a change with Alastair, and he will bring in some new ideas and build on what Stevie has done before,” he said.

“I’m happy with pre-season, and Ryan Cathcart has done a great job with strength and conditioning.

“Stevie brought him in last year and he has stayed in this year and the boys are in great shape. Connor Keys is in helping which is great as well, so it is all going well out there and everybody is pretty positive at the moment.

“You don’t really know until you get into it if there is going to be the odd hiccup, but we will deal with that if it comes.”

‘Target the league’

In recent years Enniskillen have shown their quality in the cup competitions, but Ferguson is hoping they can produce an improved showing in the league this season.

“Stevie had great success in the cups, which the Skins hadn’t really done before, which is a credit to Stevie, but we want to target the league this year,” he said.

“You have to be realistic. Alastair is only coming in so it might take a while but we will try to go for the league, as well as competing in everything else.”

That league campaign starts with a trip to Carrickfergus, and James knows they will have to be at their best if they are to come away with a victory.

“That is going to be tough,” he conceded.

“I have had little success up there myself. It’s an old cliché but it really is a hard place to go. Its not the best pitch and it is usually a bit of a dogfight, but we will hopefully have enough to get over them.

“You don’t really know going into the first league game what it is going to be like, but we will be confident enough.”