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Donnelly relishing McKenna Cup ties

By Mark McGoldrick

 

FERMANAGH will face Monaghan and Derry in the first two rounds of the 2022 Dr McKenna Cup.

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The Erne men will kickstart their competition with an away tie to Monaghan on Tuesday 11 January and will face Derry on the following Saturday in Roslea.

Fermanagh manager Kieran Donnelly, who will be in the Erne hotseat for the first time when his team takes on Monaghan, feels it is the perfect preparation that his players need to get ready for the league.

“It is exactly what you want at this time of the season. I was delighted first of all that the McKenna Cup was in place because I was going to be looking for challenge games anyway so to get Monaghan who are a Division One team and Derry who are striving to be one and potentially will be there over the next year or two, you are playing high level opposition.

“For us trying to establish a squad and try and find out where players are at, it is a perfect environment for us to view that.”

In the past, the McKenna Cup has been utilised by managers as a chance to have a look at new and potential players and Donnelly will availing of that opportunity next month.

“The league is our main focus and like any game, you want to win all your games but the main focus on the McKenna Cup will be to establish a squad and players and get a style of play going and look at players that have come in and held their hands up to prove that they can offer something to the county this year.

“It definitely is a welcome competition for us at the stage of our development especially.”

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All inter-county teams were allowed to recommence training a fortnight ago and Donnelly and his management team have been holding trials and training sessions in order to form a squad for the coming season.

The Brookeborough clubman is happy with the progress of his players and the quality of players at his disposal.

“I am [pleased]. We have had trials and lads have been continuing with their gym programmes and we have recommenced training there from December 8.

“I have been extremely happy with their attitude and their application and that is really all that you can ask of players. Again, it is something that you expect of county players in general but their application has been first class and they have trained really well.

“A lot of younger players have come in and proven that they are well able of contributing to us going forward in the future. It has been very positive.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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