McGrath set to hold trials

Fermanagh Manager, Pete McGrath.  DP31


Pete McGrath is moving quickly to ensure that he leaves no stone unturned in his pursuit of excellence with Fermanagh in 2015. The Down man is busy arranging trials for later this month and this weekend he will be travelling to the club championship games that are down for decision.

The two time All Ireland winning manager was at the first round double header in Brewster Park a few weeks ago.

“To be honest I didn’t think the games were anything to write home about. But having said that this is true of any county and their club championship. As far as I am concerned these games are a chance for me to look at current county players and see how they are performing and also see if any players have maybe slipped through the net or if there are any younger players who are now ready for that step up,” he explained.

And in this regard McGrath is keen to get the trials played.

“The trials will be important again this year. Current county players will be playing in them as well as other players who we want to to see and they will give us a chance to look at players up close. We know that numerically we have to add to our squad. Last year our squad was too small and when we got a few injuries or players were not available we were pretty threadbare. This season we would like to have 35 to 36 players on the panel and we want all those players to have qualities that will bring something to the squad.”

The Rostrevor native explained that preparations are already well underway in terms of setting up training programmes and revealed that management had met with players just a few weeks after the defeat to Laois in the All Ireland qualifiers.

“We met with two groups of players not long after the defeat to Laois to chat about things and plan for the future. Our intention is to get the squad assembled for the middle of September. We can’t go back to outdoor training until November with the training ban but what we want to do is have players working on their own strength and conditioning programme before that.”

McGrath said it was important for the management to meet with the players because it is ‘vital that every player knows what is expected in terms of preparation’.

The former schoolteacher was appointed late in the day last season and he is determined that Fermanagh will be in as good a place as possible when the league begins next February.

“How Fermanagh do in the league will largely come down to the work and preparation that is put in between now and then. The players were tremendous last year in terms of their effort and they are a serious about their football and that is a good thing and everyone is looking forward to getting the season going.”

In terms of goals McGrath says he wants Fermanagh to be competitive and stated that ‘glorious defeats’ will be no longer be good enough.

“Division three will be ultra competitive. Armagh have been relegated but have had a terrific championship. Tipperary were promoted and were excellent against Cork and did very well in the back door. Then you have the likes of Limerick and Wexford who are always quality sides on their day. So I expect every team to be difficult to beat but I also expect fermanagh to be difficult to beat and we have to look to build on last year and improve and make progress.”


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