Galway man Derek Frehill from Ballinasloe, the new manager of the Longford senior hurling squad.
It was an easy transition for Derek Frehill when he took over as manager of the Longford senior hurlers. Frehill had been part of Colum O’Meara’s backroom team last year and having that season behind him has been a big help.
He said: “I got to know the lads. The one good thing for me was last year was a learning curve, to know the competition and the structure of the league.
“There is a different style of hurling; the northern teams are physical and strong. They are also extremely fit so we put an emphasis on that in our pre-season training.
“They are a really good bunch of lads. I would not have taken the job if I did not think they could do something.”
Preparation has been going hard ahead of their league campaign which starts on Sunday against Fermanagh at Brewster Park, 2pm. Longford are back in Division 3B after being relegated last year and will also be in league action against Leitrim (home), Cavan (away) and Sligo (home). The players are putting in a great effort according to Frehill.
“They are training very hard and we have a lot of work done. We have a very small panel but on the plus side there is a good spirit.”
Frehill has been impressed with the response from the players and the effort and commitment they have given for Longford hurling.
“They put in a huge effort; train collectively three nights a week and two nights on their own. We are getting 95% attendance at every session and the lads that cannot make it are injured.”
There are several young players involved with the hurlers this year which their manager is delighted to have.
“The fringe players from last year are the lads that have made a notable impression on their new manager.
“The guys that were on the edge of the team last season have been really good for us so far this year and will be starters.
Collectively I think they have improved in their hurling and attitude. They knew they are capable of doing well.”
Having spent last year with the Longford hurlers the Galway man knows the talent at his disposal.
He said that they lacked belief and that’s something that he and his backroom team have been trying to instill into them.
“What I find about the Longford boys is that they lack a bit of confidence in their ability. That’s the one thing as a management team that we focused on. They are good enough.
“We know we have the hurling and the ability, it’s a matter of us getting wins. We are coming in off the back of five league defeats last year; we didn’t have any luck.”
Having not won a Division 3A league fixture in 2018, Frehill is hopeful his side can end that losing run against Fermanagh but knows they will provide a stern test. Fermanagh lost by a point against Sligo in the opening round.
“There are good teams in the division. If we can get an early win over Fermanagh that would be a huge help.
“It’s going to be tough for us but we are hoping to be in a good place come Sunday evening.”