After a year in office as Vice Chairman of the Fermanagh County Board and Chairman of the Competitions Control Committee, Phil Flanagan has now settled into the role and is relishing getting down to work in 2018.
His role is a busy one and a challenging one but it is one that he is enjoying.
“I found it very enjoyable, it is challenging role but it’s hugely rewarding. Obviously, it was a steep learning curve going in as Vice Chairman and as Chair of the Competitions Control Committee but there was an awful lot of people there to keep me right and help me along the way.
“I got a good insight over the year into how things work and maybe how things could be done differently to achieve a better outcomes in the county and I suppose that’s what I will be looking to implement in my second year as Chairperson of CCC,” he stated.
One of the CCC’s tasks is drawing up the fixture masterplan and Flanagan knows the importance of getting the balance right.
“There is huge debate within the association at the minute on the perennial club versus county debate and we have to strike a balance that county players are made available to their clubs but at the same time club players are given regular and meaningful football over the course of the year even when inter-county programme continues. 
“At the start of March we produced a masterplan of when we intended to play all of the adult senior and reserve league and championship games over the course of the year. There was only one deviation in that and that was because of a very reasonable request from the county management team. We stuck to the fixtures masterplan and people were happy with that because it allowed them to plan ahead,” he commented.
And he is hoping to get a fixture masterplan for 2018 drawn up early in the year with a two week window in July were there will be no football at all. 
“That would mean that families can go and plan their holidays in July knowing that there won’t be any football,” he explained.
Indeed, he feels inter-county activity at underage level is also making it difficult to organise club competitions within the county.
“There will be a knock on impact because of the significant level of academy football at U14, U15 and U16 level as well as the introduction of a backdoor system for U17 level. This is causing serious problems for our ability to schedule underage club competitions in the county.
“It’s a worrying trend and it is a growing problem at underage level and needs dealt with now,” he stated.
Reserve football is another thing that Flanagan feels need looked at. Last season 42 Reserve games were conceded and he is looking into the possibility of rewarding teams for fielding.
“There were 42 games across the two reserve leagues this year that were conceded which was very disappointing. Reserve players are often those that go on to fill the voluntary positions within our clubs and we have to look after them and make sure that they get games.
“There was a rule that if a reserve game was conceded then you had to pay a €100 levy but I think you are penalising the wrong people with that, you are penalising the people who are committed volunteers and those who would have to go out and raise the money to cover the financial cost of the lack of commitment of other members.
“We are therefore considering an alternative approach of rewarding teams for making the effort to actually play their games by giving three points for a win, two points for a draw and one point for a defeat where the losing team turns up and fields. In order for that to be allowed though it would need the permission from Central Council for a deviation from rule,” he added.