Erne ladies turn attentions to Carlow

By Martin McBrien

FERMANAGH ladies’ manager CJ McGourty breathed a sigh of relief after his team held off a large surge from Sligo to secure a nail-biting victory in last weekend’s championship opener in Donagh.

Leading by seven points with little over four minutes remaining, Fermanagh seemed to be in control, but a dramatic 1-3 from Sligo almost turned the game on its head.

They held on to take the spoils and their focus now quickly turns to Carlow this Sunday for their next group stage match.

Fermanagh have already drawn and lost to them this year, each time in agonising manner, and McGourty acknowledged the upcoming challenge.

“It’s a big game, they beat Derry by a point, people say that Carlow should be beating Derry easily on form and all that, but that’s not the way football works.

“We haven’t even thought about Carlow, it was all about *Sligo) and getting the result. We’ll train Wednesday, we’ll train Friday and see how the bodies are.

“Then we’ll face Carlow, it’s a four-game process, this was game number one, and if we don’t perform in the next three we don’t make the semi final, we’ll just take it step by step, game by game.

“With Carlow it’s going to be another tight game, the two this year have been tight, so we’ll see what the week brings us”.

After the frantic finale against Sligo, McGourty was relieved that they got out of dodge with the victory.

“It’s funny the way football works, we were playing a division three team, very strong, very athletic, very good players, we’d probably have taken a draw at half time.

“In the second half we had a bit of form, we were sort of hanging on in the last minute or two for a win.

“At half time you’d have taken a draw, ten minutes into the second half you’d have been really disappointed even getting a draw and that’s the beauty of football, especially at this level, there’s very little between the teams.

“I told that to the girls going out, I told them again at half time, there’s very small margins and at the end of the 65 minutes we got where we aimed to be and that’s the right side of the result.”

The first half painted a different picture with Sligo holding a 2-3 to 0-6 lead at the break. However, Fermanagh emerged a transformed side in the second half, quickly erasing the three-point deficit and pushing into a clear lead.

When asked what he attributed the second half resurgence to, McGourty said that the players needed to believe in their abilities.

“I said to the girls there that their football ability is never questioned, sometimes they come and I think they go through the motions, but when they want to be on it they can be absolutely brilliant, so it’s a kind of mindset change and wanting to work for the whole group.”

Praising the defence, he added: “The defence was outstanding in there and towards the end they sort of tired a little bit. We haven’t played in five weeks and that was the problem in the first half, we always knew that sharpness was going to be a problem but at the end of the day they won.”

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