GAA Football

Fermanagh midfielder Richard O'Callaghan determined to return to county line-up

Midfielder Richard O'Callaghan is determined to return to the Fermanagh line-up
Andy Watters

FERMANAGH midfielder Richard O'Callaghan says he is looking forward to getting “a full whack” at training for next season after injury derailed his comeback season for the Ernemen last year.

The Enniskillen Gaels clubman was first called up to the county panel by Pete McGrath for the 2014 season and was a regular in the side until he emigrated to Australia. He returned to the fold last year but injuries problems forced him to sit out the National League.

“I was back for a McKenna Cup game but my knee wasn't right,” he explained.

“I had a cartilage that needed tidied up so I was out then for seven-eight weeks.

“I got back in and I was motoring well and I was disappointed not to make the panel for the Ulster Championship (against Donegal). I made it for the last game (Qualifier) against Monaghan but unfortunately I never got on that day.

“I was in good shape and I've maintained that since so I'm happy enough with where I'm at.”

Fermanagh's season drew to a close after that close to Monaghan in the All-Ireland Qualifiers and since then Rory Gallagher has departed the scene. Ryan McMenamin, Gallagher's assistant last year, has been installed as the new manager.

“There's been no contact yet but if I'm wanted I'll be in there,” said O'Callaghan.

“It's the same every year, you go in and try and prove yourself and try to get into the team.

“We do have quite a bit there round the middle in terms of options and Brandon Horan, a clubmate of mine who won the Hogan Cup with St Michael's this year, will be there or thereabouts as well.

“There'll be a couple of other lads in too but we'll see how it goes and I'm looking forward to getting back out to training because I didn't get a full whack at it last year and I'd like to get a full whack at it.”

McMenamin's backroom team has an experienced look to it. The Tyrone All-Ireland winner has brought in his former Red Hand team-mate Joe McMahon and also Derry native Paul McIver who is probably best known for his success with Down powerhouse Kilcoo.

“There's continuity there,” said O'Callaghan.

“He knows the lads well, he knows what's there. I've seen him at most of the championship games and Joe (McMahon, assistant-manager) is a great lad too.

“I would be friendly with Joe and his brother and he will be good craic to have round the panel and apparently Paul McIver knows his stuff. I know a few Kilcoo boys and they were very impressed with him during his time there. I'd be very happy with what Ricey has put in place.”

O'Callaghan is also showing some ability on the sideline. He is the manager of the Enniskillen Gaels minor team who completed a championship two in-a-row in Fermanagh last Sunday by beating off Derrygonnelly in the Brewster Park final.

“It's great for the boys to get over the line,” he said.

“They're a brilliant team with a brilliant work ethic, a fantastic group of lads to work with.”

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