By Mark McGoldrick
FERMANAGH manager Niall McElroy couldn’t hide his delight at the full-time whistle as the Erne minors secured their place in the Ulster Championship quarter-final.
“It is a great feeling,” beamed a proud McElroy, “I am absolutely delighted for the players. For the efforts that they have put in this year, they’ve got their reward now and they’ve earned their place (in the Ulster Championship quarter-final). It’s a good day for them.”
The victory has been a long time coming for the Fermanagh men, who previously suffered two heavy defeats to Monaghan and Donegal in the round-robin Ulster Championship.
McElroy was pleased with the improvement shown by his players on Saturday.
“We review the games each week to see where we made mistakes and you can see the experience that the lads have had against Monaghan and Donegal and they brought that into today,” he said.
“We were nervy at the start, some of our passing wasn’t the way it usually is, but we got to grips with things and controlled the game in the lead up to half time, and we showed good composure then after that. Our boys stood firm and got scores at the other end, so it was a good performance.”
The Tempo man was also delighted with his star forward Barry Goodwin who scored a hat-trick;
“He’s (Barry Goodwin) a great lad, a good forward, and we wanted our boys to express ourselves today,” said McElroy.
“We were getting some direct ball in, men in behind, and that was suiting us, and Barry took his goals really well.”
On Saturday, Fermanagh take on Derry, but the Erne men are now in the ideal position that even if they fail to beat the Oak Leafers, they’ve already secured their berth in the quarters.
McElroy hopes that his players will finish the round-robin series strongly in Owenbeg though.
“Derry are a very good team and they are many peoples’ favourites for the Ulster Championship and in to the All-Ireland,” acknowledged the Fermanagh manager.
“But we can go up there (now), there’s no expectations of us and we’ll give it a good rattle.”