Bogue wants to fight on two fronts

By Jonathan Hogan

FERMANAGH hurling captain Ryan Bogue is looking at this weekend’s Division 3B final against Warwickshire not only as a chance to claim some silverware, but also as a key building block in their championship preparations.

That groundwork has gone well to date with four wins from four in the league and, as Bogue sums up, “a bit of silverware would be nice after winning them all.”

But it’s also about completing a target set at the start of the year, staying on the course they’ve navigated well so far and putting another competitive contest in the bank.

“It was our target at the start of the year to win the league, so we are firmly on track at the minute,” said Bogue.

“I’m sure we’ve been happy enough with how the league has gone, we just haven’t been performing the way we’d like to be performing, but still getting the results which is the main thing.

“This is another game too and the more games we play the better, it’s another one before championship (Lory Meagher Cup) which is perfect preparation.

“We’ll be looking to wrap it up with silverware and then be able to park it, move on and get ready for championship because that’s going to be another step up again.”

Fermanagh defeated Warwickshire 1-19 to 2-5 in February, but complacency won’t be an issue for Bogue ahead of Sunday’s clash at Brewster Park.

“With Warwickshire you don’t know who or what they’re going to have, even since the last time we played them I think they’ve got a few extra players, so, we just have to be prepared for that,” said Bogue.

“But we don’t really fear them to be honest, we know within our own capabilities we’re good enough to beat anyone in this league.

“Training’s been excellent and we’d a challenge match at the weekend, so the preparation have been brilliant. We’ve been pushing on in training, everyone’s in good form, we’ve a couple of boys coming back from injury and we’re in a good place.”

Bogue is to become a first-time father around the end of May, and as he says, “the pressure’s on” in that regard, but a busy few months is something he hopes to take in his stride, with the help of strength and conditioning coach Aaron Smiley.

“The end of May it’s due and hopefully we’ll just have the matter of another All-Ireland final to play around that time, but I try not to think too much about it at the minute, to be honest, it’d get the sweat out in you,” he quipped.

“We’re happy with how things are going though. When you get to my age you be delighted to be getting through the games injury-free. I’ve played all the games with no injuries, and I’m enjoying it.

“I feel like I’m in good enough shape, I’ve been working closely with Aaron (Smiley).

“I’m probably the oldest, but some of the younger boys have played in as many big games as me and our group is full of leaders, so everybody’s well clued in on what we want.”

“We know there’ll be no quarter asked nor given,” added manager Joe Baldwin.

“They’re a big, strong, physical side so we’re going to have to be at our best to avoid a disappointment.

“They have quality players and they can hurt you if you give them time and space. We have serious forwards too and serious players as well and we’ve proved it through the league.

“We’ve come through the league unbeaten – we just want to finish it off now with another win.

“We will be respectful, of course we will, but we’ll try and look after the quality that we have. I honestly believe that if our quality begins to shine through that we’re more than capable of winning this game.”

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