‘We’ll examine ourselves and then get ready for Westmeath’ – Canavan
Fermanagh will have to quickly put aside their disappointment of Sunday’s Ulster Championship exit at the hands of Cavan and focus on an All Ireland Qualifiers meeting with Westmeath in Mullingar over the weekend of June 29/30 – the time and date to be confirmed on Monday.
Westmeath were in fine form during their NFL Division Two campaign as they secure promotion to the top flight for next year and will go into the game as favourites although they were well beaten in the Leinster Championship by an impressive Dublin.
They are a team with quality players throughout their ranks and Fermanagh manager Peter Canavan knows that his side have a tough assignment to overcome if they are to progress through to the next round.
Canavan would have preferred a home tie from the draw which took place on Monday morning, and would also have liked to have avoided Division One opposition but now the draw is made he states that they will get their heads down and start to prepare for the job in hand with the manager stressing that Fermanagh are going to have to play for the full game if they are to be contention against Westmeath.
“We would have been happy with a home game, and obviously we would have preferred to have avoided the Division One sides, but we got an away game against a side who will be playing in Division One next year. So, it is a difficult draw for us, and we will go in as underdogs, but we’ll try and get our heads around it and we’ll be looking to play for the full hour and ten minutes and not just for 35 minutes like we did against Cavan,” he said.
The opening 25 minutes against Cavan was a big disappointment for the players and management as they struggled to get into the game but the side did show character to get back into contention and Canavan hopes that the players will learn the lessons from the Brewster Park loss.
“There will be questions asked of this team, but I have said all year that they have shown tremendous character and even against Cavan whe things were not going well they still showed great heart and determination to try and get back into it.
“We’ll look at ourselves, examine ourselves and if we do that, and we learn from it, then I have no doubt that we will be better for it,” he said.
And the Fermanagh manager also expects that the Cavan game will have brought his players further up to championship pace as they get ready for a stern examination in Mullingar.
“There was the fact that there was ten weeks between our last competitive game and the one against Cavan so we should be further up to speed,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fermanagh Liaison Officer Ger Treacy is hoping that Daryl Keenan, who returned to full training on Tuesday night, may provide another option ahead of the Westmeath game.
Keenan was ruled out of the Cavan game with a back injury and his industry and work rate was badly missed on the day as Fermanagh looked to breakdown a stubborn Cavan defence.
“Daryl has been making good progress and he took part in full training on Tuesday evening. The boys are determined to not let the hard work and effort that they have put in go to waste and are looking to go out and produce a performance against Westmeath,” he said.
Treacy also believes that the Cavan will game will have benefitted those who are working their way back to match sharpness following injury.
“We had boys who hadn’t done a lot for a number of weeks, boys like Barry Owens, Shane Lyons, Eoin Donnelly, Tomas Corrigan and Tommy McElroy, who all got some game time against Cavan and that will bring them on,” he said.
This article appeared in Impartial Reporter 20 Jun