ON Saturday evening, after my nephew’s Confirmation, we gathered around a computer screen in my brother’s kitchen to watch Fermanagh play in an empty Brewster Park. The gift of correct judgement must have deserted me last week, as I had tipped the Ulster Champions to win this encounter, but happily the Fermanagh boys proved me wrong.
Only one point separated the teams in the end but on the field of play there was much more in it. A few wides and Eoin Donnelly’s effort coming back off the post – following a great pass through by Sean Quigley – would have given more breathing space. It may not have been up to championship pace but overall it was a satisfactory performance.
The outstanding Quigley and the energetic Ciarán Corrigan deserve the plaudits but as a team, each player stood up at different points in the game. Donnelly’s fielding in the second half was exceptional, Decky McCusker’s last gasp tackle to prevent Cavan creating a goal and Tiernán Bogue’s performance in nullifying key man Gearóid McKiernan, all contributed to a good evening’s work.
With Cavan down a few players, including talisman Thomas Galligan through injury, it was clear that Fermanagh were targeting McKiernan as they didn’t give him an inch. Physically they matched Cavan and one of the most pleasing aspects was the transition of the ball from the defence into the forwards. With Quigley on form from play and frees, the long ball inside was always going to cause problems but it was mixed with pace coming from deep, particularly from Corrigan. It may only be the first outing of the year but it is a feature of our game that has been missing over the last few years. It would be great to see Fermanagh develop this more positive style of play over the next few games.
Another pleasing aspect was Fermanagh’s tackling. It was tenacious and strong as they closed down the spaces around the shooter very quickly. This was helped, however, by hesitation on the part of the Cavan forwards at times.
Posted: 3:43 pm May 21, 2021