New Fermanagh boys give poor Down that sinking feeling
For a side that had just dumped favourites Down out of the Ulster Championship, conquering heroes Fermanagh were surprisingly subdued at the finish.
It was a case of mission accomplished. Now on to old adversaries Cavan in Breffni Park next month.
Ciaran McElroy, who ran Ryan Carson very close for the man of the match accolade, was surprisingly composed at the finish at the end of another Fermanagh giant killing act.
“It was never going to be an easy game but in the end our exceptional workrate got us through. Down are a championship side and they really put it up to us and I suppose the momentum was with them,” he said.
“We got a bit of stick last year for not scoring enough, but we didn’t enjoy much luck in Division Two. But significantly we tried out new players. They came in today, stood up and were counted.
“There was a period early in the second half when Down really put it up to us, but the experience from last year really stood us in good stead and we never panicked and the most important thing of all was that we finished very strongly.
“We beat Down but don’t make the mistake of writing them off. They are a good team as they showed last season against Tyrone so they will regroup and they will be back. They will be there or thereabouts come the qualifiers,” added McElroy, a star in Malachy O’Rourke’s (below) team.
Those kind words were small consolation to Down boss Ross Carr (above) who had seen his side collapse in the last 20 minutes when they failed to score.
“When we went two points up 10 minutes into the second half I felt we looked comfortable, but we weren’t able to push on.
“It was bad enough that we couldn’t score but we kept turning the ball over, but I couldn’t fault our boys’ hunger. But once things began to go wrong there was nothing we could do.
“The last thing we want to think about right now is the qualifiers, but we will regroup and focus and talk things through,” said a clearly disappointed Carr.