By Eoin Morrissey
Hurling Development Administrator, Cavan Coaching and Games Development
April can often be a difficult month for hurlers in the lower tiers with the beginning of club football and pressures on students with upcoming exams. This is no different for the Fermanagh hurlers who are coming out of a successful league campaign in which they once again maintained league status.
According to team manager Seamus Mcusker “the attitude of the players so far has been excellent however we just want one more push to reach the Lory Meagher final again.”
Two years ago Fermanagh lost to point in the last minute of extra time to Tyrone. It's not as easy as you might think with very little clubs within the county; there is only two adult teams in the county states Seamus: “Its bit of a minor miracle that we can compete with such teams who have three or four more clubs than us.”
Last Wednesday, two Kilkenny legends Michael Kavanagh and Martin Comerford gave the Lake County hurlers a great boost when they landed in Fermanagh to share their experience with the squad. “It's not often that we get to meet the players of the calibre as the two lads; it gave us a chance to check out new ideas and raise the intensity,” said Fermanagh captain Mark Slevin.
Kavanagh, holder of seven All-Ireland titles and four All-Stars, was highly impressed by the attitude and skill levels of the Fermanagh players. “I didn't know what to expect, but I am pleasantly surprised. I wanted to raise the intensity of training and show them that the only difference is the speed in which the game is played, they have all the basic skills.”
Michael who is currently delving into management himself with the U17 Kilkenny team sees a future for hurling in these parts; “Yes it hard when hurling would be considered the second sport to football. However it's so encouraging to see small pockets keeping the game alive up here.
“This is what the GAA is all about and I will be keeping a close eye on the Lory Meagher campaign and hoping that maybe a few of the tips myself and Martin gave tonight will rub off on the lads.”
This was all made possible by the GPA's Hurling Twinning Programme, now in its seventh year. The Programme pairs McCarthy Cup players with their counterparts in the Rackard and Meagher Cups helping to promote the game and foster ambition in the non-traditional hurling counties.