While visibly disappointed after losing to Monaghan and frustrated at the amount of added time played by referee Aidan McAleer, Fermanagh manager Joe Baldwin wasn’t pinning the blame on the Donegal whistler.
“I can make all the excuses I want about officials, but it isn’t an easy job out there. We had enough chances to win that game and we didn’t take them and that’s something that we’ve got to look at as a group,” said Baldwin firmly.
After the game, the Fermanagh fans were furious with the referee for awarding so much added time, and the Erne boss did question the official’s decision.
“I often question this,” said Baldwin, “you find five minutes [of added time] inside the 35 [minutes], but you manage to find two and a half minutes [extra] then inside five. The maths don’t just add up for me. I’m not making excuses here; we should have seen it out. We’re disappointed.”
Straight after the final whistle, Baldwin directed his players into the changing room for a post-match team talk before he emerged to address the media.
With a crunch clash against Mayo on Sunday in Ederney, the Fermanagh manager says his players must get themselves ‘dusted down’ and ready for the clash against their Connacht opponents.
“They [Mayo] had a good day today [Saturday], they drew with Roscommon, 17 points all,” said the Erne boss.
“We’ll look at that, as that’s a serious challenge. When the fixtures came out, Mayo at home is massive. We’ve got to get our shoulder to the wheel.”
Baldwin’s charges hit 12 wides during the game and the Fermanagh manager knows his side must improve in the attacking third going forward.
“We’ve things to work on,” conceded the Erne manager, “we had a serious number of wides today and our ball skills weren’t what they were.
“Our discipline was disappointing today. Four times in the game, at least, they got a 110 yard free moved up to 90 yards. As a result of that, they put the ball over the bar.
“Our inside forward line didn’t get going the way that we know they can. I’ve got every faith in the players going forward.
“We’re really disappointed but it’s what we do now at training and during the gym sessions in between, that will make us better.”
The Fermanagh boss did acknowledge that there were some positive signs though;
“They’ve applied themselves very well, and ultimately, that is our aim, to try and stay up,” said Baldwin.
“That [game] felt like a six pointer today and it came down to one puck of a ball. We’re capable of playing at this level and we just need to bounce back now.”
Baldwin gave inter-county league debuts to Danann McKeogh, Odhran Johnston and Ultan O’Reilly on Saturday.
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