Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Comment: Poor tactics left Fermanagh with mountain to climb

Brian Neeson was superb for Antrim

Fermanaghwill be very disappointed with the fact they only played in patches. They were very good in the closing 10 minutes of both the first and second half but they had left themselves with too much to do and expended too much energy in getting back into the game.

I think that Fermanagh got their tactics wrong at the start when playing a sweeper and that enabled Antrim to attack them in droves as they were able to come from deep and always had players on the overlap.

Brian Neeson was superb for Antrim, finishing with an impressive 1-4 to his name and he caused havoc in the Fermanagh defence every time he gained possession.

Antrim dominated the first half and while Fermanagh closed the gap to five at the break, the Saffrons took it to another level on the restart and it meant the Ernemen were always chasing the game.

Half time probably came at the wrong time for Fermanagh as they were well on top and it allowed Antrim the opportunity to regroup at the break.

To their credit though, Fermanagh played to the final whistle and they could have grabbed what would have been an unlikely win when they had a shot cleared off the line.

It was a game that probably surprised everybody as they were expecting a defensive contest from both sides but it was good and open and that was reflected in the final scoreline.

Peter McGrath has done it all at the highest level and he will be disappointed that his first championship game in charge of Fermanagh ended in defeat.

They had a lot of inexperienced players within their ranks and that probably counted against them when it mattered most.

They fancied their chances on home soil and it's difficult to see where they will go from here.

They will need to get a favourable draw in the qualifiers but to be honest, I don't see them doing anything.

Antrim on the other hand have a semi-final with Donegal to look forward to and while they will go in as underdogs, that won't worry them.

Liam Bradley is trying to develop a style of play that suits them and they have a lot of pace in their side which is vital in the modern game.

They have absolutely nothing to lose and the pressure will all be on Donegal after the way they beat Derry at Celtic Park. Bradley can use that to his advantage over the next few weeks and put in the hard work at training.

I can certainly see elements in their game that can trouble Donegal, although having said that they are going to have to brush up on some aspects of their game as well.

When they moved the ball they were terrific against Fermanagh but they will be worried about those two spells at the end of either half when they allowed Fermanagh back into the game.

They seemed to switch off, perhaps feeling that they had the job done and there is no doubt that they can't afford to do that against a side like Donegal or they will be severely punished.

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