By Mark McGoldrick
If Fermanagh are to get a result on Sunday and win their third All-Ireland title, a lot will depend on the performance of Eimear Smyth.
The Derrygonnelly sharp-shooter has been in sensational form for the Ernesiders this season, scoring a superb 3-05 in their semi-final victory over Limerick to help secure a place in this weekend’s Croke Park showdown. Fermanagh will need another massive performance from Smyth on Sunday, but she admits that she doesn’t feel the pressure or responsibility to perform well in every game.
“I don’t think there’s any pressure,” she explained, “I’m just doing my role within the team set-up and helping the team in any way I can.
“I think there’s a great dynamic within the forward unit. We work well together and we’ve got girls who can take scores all over the pitch, so it’s great to have that capability within the team.”
Despite being just 21 years of age, Smyth is one of the most experienced players in the Fermanagh squad and she is not getting carried away or overly excited about playing in the All-Ireland final.
“There’s definitely a great buzz among the girls,” she said.
“We’ve got our heads down though and we are working hard, but there’s definitely a great feeling of excitement.
“We’re looking forward to getting back to play in Croke Park. It’s where we wanted to be at the start of the year, so we’re looking forward to it, but we are well aware that we have a tough game of football ahead for us.”
Smyth will get special attention from the Saffrons’ defenders on Sunday and she is expecting a very tough challenge from her Ulster rivals.
“We’ve played Antrim a few times already this year so we know what they’re about and they will have an idea about us and the way that we set up. Antrim have the experience of playing in the final last year which will stand to them.
“They have strong players around the middle and ruthless forwards up front, so it will be a challenge to keep them out. It will be a close game but one that we’re really looking forward to.”
Smyth is no stranger to success, having won a host of team and individual honours for both club and county.
If Fermanagh could win the All-Ireland title on Sunday, this would be up with her top successes to date.
“It would be a great achievement but I suppose we’re not even looking that far ahead,” she said.
“We’re fully focused on trying to implement our game plan and hopefully the result will look after itself.”
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