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Worth the wait
By Damian Campbell
Closest result of the four senior championship games over the weekend was the one point success of Erne Gaels over Ederney.
The Belleek side who had come into the game as the less fancied side, principally due to Ederney’s strong performances in the league, came from behind with the final two points to earn their semi final ticket.
“Obviously delighted,” commented co –manager Declan McGloin, “ especially since this was our first senior championship victory in sixteen seasons.”
McGloin went on to note that, “ though we have been having mixed fortunes in the league there had been recent signs that of improvement and there was the feeling that a big game was coming from the boys.We accepted that Ederney because of their better league form would be viewed as favourites and they had beaten us earlier in the league. But for that particular game, despite the size of the defeat, I felt that we were not all that far behind them.
And I was impressed with the character of our side in coming back late to get the winning scores.”
Erne Gaels will face Tempo in the semi final, the Maguires pressing on to the last four for the second successive season with a surprisingly handsome win over Derrygonnelly.
This game had been billed as the tie of the round but it never got off the ground, Tempo registering a twelve point triumph.
Manager John McElroy freely acknowledged surprise at the extent of the margin.
“Coming into the game I expected it to be a one or two point affair,” he began. “I was very pleased with our team performance which I thought from goalkeeper to number 15 plus the two substitutions was excellent.”
McElroy was however keen to stress that Derrygonnelly’s failure to hit goals at critical moments, the miss early in the second half especially crucial did have, “ an impact on how the game developed. And perhaps Derrygonnelly’s terrific effort against Roslea in the previous round also had an impact. As for ourselves, once we had settled down after a nervous opening ten minutes I was happy with the way we played but of course nothing is won yet.”
The second semi final will be the derby spiced meeting of Lisnaskea and St Patricks.
The Donagh side are currently operating in the second division but Lisnaskea will not be fooled into thinking that they have got an easy touch.
St Patricks chairman Gerry Cadden declared himself to be, “ very pleased with the result against Enniskillen and I thought that the team performed well, especially in the first half. We did let it slip a bit though in the second but it was a great result for us.”
St Patricks in fact have been enjoying a high profile season as they targeted promotion to the first division as an essential aim and they are now on the brink of achieving that. It will take a remarkable collapse on their part if they are to be denied.
Cadden again, “The panel of players has been working exceptionally hard right from the start of the year and that hard work is beginning to pay off.”
Lisnaskea will be acutely aware of the threat posed by their near neighbours particularly since they had their hands full in overcoming Newtownbutler in their quarter final clash.
“I felt that our performance level from the game with Devenish was down to some extent,” was the response of team manager Mark Henry. “And this was down primarily to the way in which Newtown played.
“We never bought into the idea that because they were lowly placed in the league that they would be easy. Last season for example they were the team who came closest to beating Roslea. So we fully anticipated a hard battle and that is what we got, particularly for a long period in the second half where the arrival of Niall Moane into midfield caused us problems.
“ But I felt that coming into the final ten minutes we had turned a corner and were beginning to get more of the possession and it did look like we would win through in the end.”
And the Emmetts duly won through, notching the last three points as fourteen man Newtown flagged over the final minutes.
Henry however was warm in his praise of the opposition, “Newtown had to deal with a number of setbacks both before and during the game and they responded extremely well to them giving us the tough test that we always knew we would have to deal with.”