Sliver of hope for Erne County footballers

By Katrina Brennan

WHEN things go right they go very right and when they go wrong they go very wrong, and unfortunately for Fermanagh, it was the latter on Saturday afternoon in Ardee.

Manager Kieran Donnelly watched on from the sideline as Louth landed blow after blow, scoring 6-17 in all, on their home turf.

Their survival hopes hang by a thread heading into their final day Division Three encounter against Cavan and they can only stay up if they claim victory over the Breffni men and Kildare do the same against Louth.

Donnelly commented: “It’s not out of the equation yet but there’s a lot of things have to go our way for it to work out for us.”

It’s never an easy task going to Cavan looking for a result but Raymond Galligan’s side will also be hurting after a bruising defeat to Armagh at the weekend, which they lost by 15 points, 2-21 to 0-12.

“Cavan is probably in a similar situation, they conceded 2-21. They’re a proud county, so they’ll come with a reaction to that too.

“So, probably both teams will go into this in the same situation and looking to get a performance going into the championship.

“I think the players will be determined enough to do it. They’re a good group and they’ve worked really hard.

“They didn’t deserve that on Saturday but it is what it is and you often find out more about your character when you’re in these situations.

“So, we’ll find out a wee bit more about ourselves and there’s no doubt it will make us better individuals, players, and hopefully a team going forward.”

To concede six goals in 70-odd minutes of football, doesn’t happen too often and the Erne boss was still wrestling with what exactly happened on Saturday.

Was it the occasion and the pressure? Or was it just one of those days where way too many errors crept into their game?

By half time Fermanagh had been turned over in possession ten times and Louth capitalised every time, bar two wides in the opening half.

Fermanagh pushed up on the Wee County, at times with all 15 players beyond the half way line.

It’s been a trend in their play this season and Donnelly believes handling errors were the costly element on this occasion;

“They (Louth) sat deep against Armagh as well, the only thing that Armagh didn’t do, that we did, was give the ball away.

“I think there’s a simplicity in that – we were very good against Armagh in holding possession, very good against Cork – and we saw that as a strength.

“Would I do anything different? Not really, because that’s what we were good at.

“Our ball retention against Armagh and Cork was excellent but we just gave the ball away (on Saturday) and at that level, it’s unacceptable really.”

Donnelly and his management team now have the unenviable task of lifting the players for a derby game with Cavan on Saturday evening at Kingspan Breffni.

“The players will be hurting but they’re an excellent group of players. They’re a young group and we’re going to need to be strong as a management team and realise the importance of the next game and focus on our own performance and our attitude, and if we do that, that’s all we can control.”

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