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Baldwin still focused on Fermanagh for now

By Pauric McGurn

FERMANAGH hurling manager Joe Baldwin expressed how proud he is of the Fermanagh hurling squad after they came so close to toppling Armagh in Crossmaglen on Saturday.

Going into this game both these sides knew it was too big a gap to reign in the likes of Roscommon, Tyrone and Donegal, who this weekend will fight it out for the top two spots to contest the Nickey Rackard final.

“To be fair to the Fermanagh lads, we dominated the first half but it certainly didn’t look that way on the scoreboard. We conceded a late first-half goal and from only being a point behind we then went in at the break behind by four, 2-9 to 1-8.

“Armagh are a decent side and have an excellent management team behind them.We were the better team in the first half but we just couldn’t convert enough chances and at this stage of competition it’s whoever takes the chances will win the game.”

Looking ahead, Fermanagh now have a home game with Roscommon this Saturday in Brewster Park. The Connacht side are within touching distance of claiming a spot in the Nickey Rackard final but the Erne men will want to win on home turf.

“We played on Saturday (last) without Rory Porteous, Danny Teague, John Paul McGarry and Francie McBrien – on other days we would have been up against it but I know this squad has got stronger and once again on Saturday I will use the squad and look to younger players to show me what they can do.

“It’s been a good year, we won Division 3B, we retained our status in the Nickey Rackard, we have two trophies in three years and played in four finals.”

For now Baldwin’s thoughts will be solely on Roscommon but it’s clear that the question about his future with Fermanagh next season is looming.

The Coleraine-based Baldwin acknowledges he will speak to his management team.

“My three years will be up on Saturday once the full-time whistle goes. I have really enjoyed it and it’s an excellent young team that is here in Fermanagh.

“I work in Ballycastle and live in Coleraine, I am thoroughly enjoying it but I will speak to the management team, speak to the county board and chat with my family.

“For now though, I am only concentrating on Roscommon, it’s another big test for us and I will be seeing what the squad can bring to the pitch, as every game will develop these players.”

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