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An exciting new era begins for Enniskillen Rugby Club this week with the start of the highly anticipated, perhaps dreaded by some, pre-season training in the buildup up to the new rugby season.
This season in particular features a significant reshuffle for Enniskillen with Norman Richmond taking over as Manager, Jamie Johnston coming into a dual role as new club captain and forwards coach, and the return of Ashley Finlay as both a player and backs coach. Alan Ferguson comes in
as 2nd XV captain, with a tough task ahead after suffering relegation, and Richard Willis takes the 3rd XV captaincy from Michael Cadden off the back of a league winning season. Enniskillen 1st XV struggled last season following a devastating and inconceivable loss of key
players in the early stages of the competition, turning a quest for promotion into an admirable effort from Skins just to remain in Qualifying League 2. This was followed by the departure of club coach Alasdair Mckee, who achieved great things at the
club, and will surely receive a warm welcome at Mullaghmeen this season in his new position as Coach of fellow league side Grosvenor. Along with the end of Ricky Connor’s tireless tenure as Club Captain, this will leave us with a much changed hierarchy for the new season.
Perhaps the major challenge for a new coach faced with a horde of belligerent rugby players is often simply gaining the trust of the team, but after his time as assistant coach to Mckee, during a difficult period for the club, Norman Richmond has undoubtedly gained the required respect. A
veteran of the club, who still donned the maroon jersey up until fairly recently, Norman spent the 2013 season working with both the First and Second XV as well as playing an active coaching role in regular training.
“It was great to work under Ally Mckee last season and a great experience, even faced with so many injuries and games where we simply didn’t get the rub of the green, it was still fantastic to see a group of players work so hard throughout.” Whilst remaining conservative about the goals of the season, targeting the the top half of the table as a starting point and eyeing promotion as a ‘3 Year Plan’, Norman seems equally focused on
developing more abstract areas of the club. “A major goal is to just build a great esprit de corps amongst the lads and strengthen the
relationship between players throughout the club, on top of that hopefully developing a larger player base to choose from.
“It’s crucial that we develop an honest relationship with the players. I won’t be scared to make big decisions and no player should expect his place to be safe should he not give 100%, Commitment is everything, both at training and on match day”. When asked about the structure this year Norman was very positive about the involvement of Johnston and Finlay in a coaching capacity. “I’m very excited to work with Jamie as new club captain and new signing Ashley Finlay, i’m looking forward to having a dedicated forward and backs coach working on the specifics within each area,
allowing me to oversee, advise, guide and mentor the players.”In terms of rugby, Richmond appears set on aggressive playing style built around good
fundamentals of the game.“We’re going for an exciting game plan, play hard, take no quarter. We need to be mentally and physically strong, focus on doing the basics right and being clinical.”

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