By Jack Madden
BELNALECK selector Malachy McConnell knows full well a tie away to last year’s finalists Erne Gaels won’t be an easy start, but despite being the second smallest club by area in Fermanagh, there is no shortage of confidence in the camp.
Belnaleck are primed and ready to go, and McConnell is looking forward to a successful campaign.
“Confidence levels are high, with the level of talent we feel we have at our disposal,” McConnell said.
“We are a well-established team in Division One. Nigel (Seaney) and Daniel (Kille) have brought a new energy to the squad, and they’ve picked up from the hard work and the foundations laid by Colm Bradley.
“We’ve shown to be very competitive in the league. It’s not complacency or overconfidence, it’s a steady progression.”
Manager Seaney and assistant Kille need little introduction as former Fermanagh footballers themselves, but equally, they have proven themselves while kitted out in the “bainisteoir” bib. Sealey in particular has tasted Tyrone success with Trillick, and he has proven his pedigree and “wealth of experience” according to McConnell.
A strong league campaign ended on a sour note, as Kinawley managed to eke out a victory in the final round and pip Belnaleck to a coveted final spot.
Have the squad overcome that disappointment?
“We were disappointed of course but we’re realistic. There was a good opportunity for another competitive game, but we lost a couple of important games and you don’t make finals losing matches,” McConnell said.
“We would have seen the league and club player’s league as a good opportunity to mould and develop players. Any victory is useful, however.”
Gareth Cavanagh is a cert to miss out after suffering a serious knee injury, with McConnell keen to stress he has the club and community’s full support as he undergoes his recovery.
On a more positive note, Ciaran McBrien and Peter Monaghan have shown no ill effects since recovering from injuries suffered against Belcoo.