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McGrath's Fermanagh future remains in doubt

FERMANAGH will finally get their 2011 campaign underway against UUJ in the McKenna Cup in Enniskillen tonight, but incoming manager John O'Neill has admitted that he is unsure over the future of star midfielder Marty McGrath due to his ongoing battle with injury.

The 2004 All Star is currently suffering from tendonitis in the knee and has had two surgeries in the last 12 months, which has severely limited his playing time for both club and county.

"I've spoken to Marty," said O'Neill. "We're not sure what the situation is. He's on a long rehab programme at the minute and he's working away on that. We'll keep an eye on how things progress."

The weather and the tragic death of Michaela Harte have delayed the Ernesiders' start to the year, and they will have to squeeze three games into the next seven days ahead of their Division 4 campaign.

"We've made getting out of Division 4 our first goal," said O'Neill. "But it's a very competitive league. You have the Connacht champions in Roscommon. You have Longford who beat Mayo in the championship last year, and they'll all be looking to do the same."

O'Neill has to plan without the services of around 15 players for the coming week's action. Six of his players are with Lisnaskea, who will be in All-Ireland intermediate club semi-final action against Ballymore of Kildare. A similar number are 'college tied' while he also has another 'three or four' injuries.

"We said we are going to use the McKenna Cup as challenge games to give people a chance. When we were here with Charlie (Mulgrew) we were in Division 1 and that standard of football helped us prepare for the championship. But a lot of that team are that little bit older now so it's a period of rebuilding for us," he said.

Irish Independent