Ryan Bogue makes no bones about the ambition he and the Fermanagh hurling team have for 2024.

Promotion from Division 3B and winning the Lory Meagher are what they have their sights set on.

And the Fermanagh captain believes there is enough in the squad along with the improvements they have made since last season to make that push up the divisions and back into the Nicky Rackard Cup.

Last year saw the hurlers miss out narrowly in several games which ultimately decided their fate in relegation from league and championship competitions.

Bogue hopes that the learnings and improvements the squad has made since it got back together in November will see a quick return.

“We are not hiding the fact that we want to win the league, get promotion, win the Lory Meagher [Cup] and get back up to Nicky Rackard. That’s been the aim since the end of November.

“That’s where we feel we should be playing so we have to go and prove that we are good enough to be there.”

“We were very unlucky last year to lose by one point here and one point there.

“Whenever we sat down and broke it down there were so many different things that we could have improved on to win those games.

“Everything from our fitness, our touch, even psychologically.

“We have worked on a lot of stuff,” added the Fermanagh captain who has praised the influence of the new members of the management team - Daithi Hand, Peter Galvin and strength and conditioning coach Aaron Smylie.

“There’s loads of wee small things that we have been working on since the start of the season to improve.

“We think if we can click all those things together - we were so close last year - it’s not going to take much to get us where we want to be.”

Bogue said the spirit in the camp is good as they look ahead to Saturday’s league opener away to Leitrim.

He feels that the work the players are putting in more effort than before and it is helping to create a strong and positive environment among the squad.

‘Good buzz’

“There’s a good buzz in there at the minute because we are all working hard. We all want to be up the divisions. None of us want to be down in the bottom tiers.

“We are working hard and everything is in place to get to where we want to be. We have to buy into it and we have since November, every man has bought into it.”

This buy-in could be seen in the Conor McGurk Cup in which Fermanagh reached the semi-final with Bogue commenting: “The McGurk Cup was brilliant because it is very hard to get games like that against that opposition for us. So, it was really good, we found it really useful. The Queen’s win was a big win for us.

“Since that we have just been working hard on stuff that we need to work on,” added Bogue who said the squad were focussing on what they could do rather than getting bogged down on the opposition.

This weekend’s opposition are familiar to Fermanagh and Bogue and he admits the squad are raring to go: “We are mad to get at it now. We haven’t played a competitive game since that Donegal game so we are ready to go and we feel we are ready for it.

“We have been playing Leitrim for the last 10 years so we know exactly what we are going to get especially going down to Carrick-on-Shannon.

“It’s going to be a complete dogfight.

“We know exactly what to expect this weekend. Hopefully, we can get a performance at the weekend.”