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Fitzpatrick's suspension not a valid excuse: Fitzsimons

By Declan Bogue

When all is said and done about the last few weeks Matthew Fitzpatrick had put in pursuing what should be his hobby of Gaelic football, his manager Frank Fitzsimons was not reaching for it as an excuse for Antrim's spanking in Ballybofey.

Asked if events in particular over the last week had been disruptive, he answered, "No, I don't think so. He was like a Rolls Royce there in the first half. He went over on his ankle and he was a massive loss to us too during that game. And then you're trying to make subs. Listen, it's been a bad day at the office for us."

Fitzsimons' side could have made it much closer - and it would have been interesting to see what effect it might have had on a young team in the heat of Championship - if they had converted a couple of goal chances in the first half.

"I would have said both of them could have went into the bottom corner. But it sucks the energy out of you, missing shots like that," stated Fitzsimons.

"Nobody comes out to miss shots, we all know that. But I think we need to have more conviction in our shooting. Too many dropped into the goalkeeper's hands."

His opposite number Rory Gallagher feels they are building something with this team and knew that he wouldn't have a better chance to blood so many youngsters all in one go. A 16-point win tells him an awful lot.

"The reality is that we fully expected to win; we are operating out of Division One, Antrim were relegated to Division Four and had a difficult 10 days. We did not play as well as we would have liked but in the second half we showed some moments," he said afterwards.

As for Patrick McBrearty who was left out of the starting line-up, Gallagher added: "Paddy got injured in the Roscommon game and he has been working his way back to fitness and getting into form. The reality is that he missed chunks of training and is working his way back to fitness."

Karl Lacey and Martin McElhinney also both came on.

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