Canavan in line for Fermanagh post
TYRONE legend Peter Canavan is being tipped to become the new manager of Fermanagh.
The Errigal Ciaran man recently completed a three-year stint with his home club -- winning successive league titles -- and it appears he is now ready to take on the challenge of inter-county management.
With Fermanagh having endured a disastrous 2011 campaign, the appointment of someone with Canavan's profile would be a huge coup for the Erne County and would be seen as a positive move.
It is widely believed that if Canavan is the successful candidate, he will bring Fermanagh native Kieran Donnelly and former Tyrone County Board coaching officer Enda Kilpatrick with him as part of his back-room team.
Donnelly is a well-respected coach and was the Errigal Ciaran trainer during Canavan's time as manager, while former Tyrone defender Kilpatrick has a long record and association with Vocational Schools and youth coaching within the O'Neill County. It is believed that interviews for the post are due to take place within the next 48 hours.
Leinster, meanwhile, have expressed surprise at Antrim's decision to quit the Walsh Cup, having competed in the pre-season competition since 2005.
New Antrim manager Jerry Wallis explained that, after consulting with both the players and the county board, it had been agreed not to compete in next years competition.
Instead, he will concentrate on getting to know his squad and on working on their fitness in preparation for the Allianz Hurling League campaign. He believes that will have more long-term benefit than coming south to play in the Walsh Cup.
Leinster Council chairman Martin Skelly said he was surprised by Antrim's withdrawal as they appeared to have benefited from participating in recent years -- the highlight came in 2008 when they won the title, beating Kilkenny, UCD and Offaly.
"It's Antrim's call, but I would have thought playing in the Walsh Cup would be a help to them before they go into the league," he said.
Leinster had agreed that either Galway or Antrim would host the Walsh Cup final if they qualified.
There's no question of Antrim opting out of the Leinster championship -- for the present at least -- as they are committed to remaining there until the end of 2013, after which a review will take place.
All championship games involving Leinster counties will be played at a Leinster venue up to then, but if the current format is retained beyond that, Antrim and Galway can expect to host some games.
Mullingar has been pencilled in for an Antrim v Galway clash (if Antrim beat Westmeath in the first round) next June, but the counties may suggest that the game be switched to Casement Park or Pearse Stadium, either of which would attract a bigger crowd than Cusack Park.