By Ryan Ferry
DONEGAL manager Paddy Carr said his team let the handbrake off in the second half against Armagh on Saturday evening, but they still went home ‘gutted’ with a defeat.
Carr’s men struggled in the first half and only managed one point from play, while Armagh seemed to get their scores much more easily.
However, they had a real cut off it in the second half and posed serious questions of the Orchard men.
Carr was at a loss to explain some of the refereeing decisions that went against his men at crucial times, but the league table states that Armagh have two additional league points while Donegal remain on three and that’s all that matters.
“I was just thinking to myself coming off the field that it’s not going to be the easiest thing watching that again, and analysing it,” said Carr.
“We started at the wrong tempo and I think we gave them a little bit too much respect and that was made very clear at half time.
“We let the handbrake off then and really started going at them and again it is frustrating because it is not through any lack of effort, it just came down to some poor decision-making.
“The lads themselves feel gutted about it because we were in the ascendancy there at a crucial stage of the game and we just took the wrong options.
“I didn’t think fate really helped us either. I was mystified by a lot of the decisions that were going on out there as well.
“I just couldn’t understand them. What we were seeing and what everyone was seeing, and what the officials seen were obviously two different things.
“But sure we can’t do any more than that – you just have to live with that.”
Donegal improved when they started to kick the ball more and Hugh McFadden gave them a focal point at full-forward.
However, they didn’t show the composure they would have liked when they got within touching distance of their opponents.
“I think we just changed the emphasis of what we were trying to actually do, and we went somewhat more direct.
“You could see yourself there that a few lads have just come back from injury, and Ciaran (Thompson) came in today, and they are all good footballers but have very little football played, and that might have affected the on field decision-making.
“That’s what tends to happen when you come down to the white heat of battle but look we are very, very disappointed but we have to keep motoring on there’s no doubt about that.”
Carr didn’t have too far to travel to get back to his Ardee base after the match, but there will have been some soul-searching to be done.
That said, he still feels his team are making improvements.
“I see they are trying to do what we know needs to be done.
“I’ve said it before that habits can take a long time to form and breaking certain habits isn’t easy and you only know that when you get into a pressurised situation, and sometimes out there the wrong option was taken.
“The margins are (thin) as I keep saying. If the ball had gone over the bar with one of those last kicks, we could have been heading up the road in different humour to what we are now.”
“(For) the lads themselves, there won’t be any break for them. We have an awful lot of work to do.
“The games are coming thick and fast and championship is looming on the horizon as well so we just have to push on.”