Sylvester hoping to restore fortunes of Devenish

SYLVESTER Mulrone is in charge of Devenish this year, and it’s fair to say club members aren’t scratching their heads wondering ‘who the heck is this guy?’

Mulrone won five championship medals with the club back in the day, and was manager when they won their last of 10  titles back in 1996.

He’s father of former Fermanagh player Barry, and was one of Charlie Mulgrew’s side-kicks when Fermanagh embarked on their unforgettable odyssey to the All-Ireland semi-final in 2004.

Nevertheless, having the name and reputation only gets you so far in life, and reversing Devenish’s slide of the last few years doesn’t look like a matter of course.

They won the Division One title in their centenary year in 2017, but they haven’t gone so well since then, the nadir being their first-round defeat to relative minnows Aghadrumsee in last year’s Intermediate Championship.

Mulrone commented: “We were disappointed going down to the Intermediate Championship. It was the first time it’s happened in my history of involvement with the club anyway.

That hurt us badly, and it was hard to take when we lost to Aghadrumsee as well, but on the day they deserved their victory.

We do feel that if we get all the young players integrated into the senior team we’ll be able to get back to the top table as well.

We’re still playing Division One football which is a big plus to us when it comes to introducing those players.”

It’s a joint-ticket at the Garrison-based club with Mulrone joined by James Glancy  and Martin O’Brien, another former Fermanagh footballer.

O’Brien is known as something of a free-thinker (he wrote a column for Gaelic Life for a spell) and Mulrone is glad to have enlisted his services.

Marty could still end up playing as well depending on how his knees are treating him.

He’s a good lad to have around the place and he’s a very determined clubman as well. The players should take to him as they know him so well from playing together, they’ll be more than willing to listen to what he has to say.”

There’s no easy answer as to why Devenish’s form has taken a nosedive since they claimed the 2017 Division One title, and it’s worth noting that they reached the final the very same year, they they lost to a rampant Derrygonnelly side. Retirements and injuries certainly didn’t help, however, according to Mulrone.

We didn’t really kick on from winning the league but we had a bit of a transition with players retiring and some other long-term injuries as well.

We lost Joe O’Brien last year to a long-term injury, he broke a few bones in his foot in a game against Enniskillen Gaels and hopefully he’ll be back towards the end of this year.

There’s been other niggles here and there and that’s affected our progress as well. We do have good talent coming through at underage level but it’s going to take time for them to bed into the senior team.”

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