FERMANAGH hurling manager Joe Baldwin has finalised his new look backroom team for the forthcoming campaign with the addition of two experienced hurling coaches, a new Strength and Conditioning coach and a sports psychologist.

Rory O’Donnell, Stephen Smith and Davy Masterson indicated at the end of last year that they would be stepping away from the set up and Baldwin has now put in place a strong management team.

“Rory, Stephen and Davy have departed and it was sad to see that but we can’t stand still, we had to move on. It is something I thought even last year we needed which was a full time hurling coach and we’ve been very fortunate to secure the services of two very, very experienced hurling coaches in Daithi Hand and Peter Galvin. They have been involved with Sligo and Roscommon in recent years and a few years ago they took Sligo from the Lory Meagher to the Christy Ring in three seasons which is an unbelievable achievement.

“It is really something that we needed. I know myself, I have been coaching the squad for three years and it was too much. We needed new voices, we tried last year with Steven Poacher and he tried very hard but that crossover from football to hurling is very hard to make and this time we have secured the services of two genuine hurling coaches with a proven track record. I have met them several times and they are very keen to get started and get involved. I think they will be a real shot in the arm for us going forward,” said Baldwin.

On top of that he had brought in Aaron Smiley as Strength and Conditioning coach while Annie Higgins will fill the role of sports psychologist.

“Aaron Smiley is the new strength and conditioning coach, he has been involved with Loughgiel this last three seasons and is a serious calibre of hurling man while the last piece of the jigsaw is a sports psychologist.

“It is something that we have never tapped into but we lost seven inter county games last year by a single score. Annie Higgins will come in and she is somebody I have worked with in the past.

“We are really trying to shake things up in terms of our skill set. It is exciting times.”

Next up for Baldwin will be to speak to the players.

“We haven’t really had a conversation with the players yet. The boys have been playing club hurling, Lisbellaw and Erne Gaels just finished up at the weekend, so we’ll speak to them over the next week or so,” he said.

And then it will be heads down to prepare for league and championship and Baldwin makes no bones about targeting success in both in 2024.

“The provisional draft for the league fixtures have us with four home and one away game and if that works out it gives us the perfect opportunity to progress early on in the league and set out our stall.

“The goal has to be to try and win the Lory Meagher Cup and get back into the Nickey Rackard Cup. I couldn’t have left Fermanagh hurling in that state, I had to come back to try and get it up a level and I seriously believe that we are more than capable of doing it,” he added.