Fermanagh boss Gallagher admits his side were second best after strong Kildare show no mercy
Fermanagh 0-18 Kildare 3-20
Fermanagh manager Rory Gallagher accepted his side were second best as a powerful Kildare side produced an emphatic performance in Navan on Saturday night to book their place in the Super 8s.
The Lilywhites dominated the exchanges in the first half with the Ernemen struggling to deal with Kildare's pace and power, and from the moment the excellent Daniel Flynn netted in the seventh minute there was a sense of inevitability about the outcome.
By the break, Kildare had put the game to bed as they led 1-13 to 0-05 and although Fermanagh showed plenty of heart and battle in the second half they never threatened the result.
"The challenge was to come out do ourselves justice in the performance and in the first half we didn't do that, " said Gallagher.
"The goal was a difficult goal to lose and Kildare got huge momentum. They looked fitter, stronger, quicker, thinking quicker. We were very poor on their kickout as well. We came back in the second half, I thought the boys showed great heart and great pride but ultimately we were very well beaten."
The Fermanagh manager did feel that his side should have been closer to Kildare at half time. They registered seven wides over the course of the opening period, dropped a number of efforts in goalkeeper Mark Donnellan's hands as well as having an Eoin Donnelly shot that hit the underside of the crossbar.
"Our finishing in the first half was very poor. No matter what we should have had nine, 10, 11 points on the board in the first half, and if that is the case, despite being second best you are still in the game," he added
"We haven't been clinical enough and I would be disappointed in that we didn't run the ball hard enough at them in the first half.
"When we ran the ball really aggressively in the second half we got great joy."
At the other end of the pitch, Kildare looked like scoring every time they attacked and from 17 efforts in the first 35 minutes they plundered 1-13.
The second half performance though was more pleasing for Gallagher.
"The big plus out of it is that they showed tremendous heart. We started the second half well but gave away a second goal but they still kept at it.
"I thought the attitude was better, we scrapped for everything, we did better on their kickouts but there are massive areas for improvement and massive learnings," he said.
Fermanagh scorers: Seamus Quigley (0-07, 6f), Sean Quigley (0-03), T Corrigan (0-02), R Jones (0-02), R Corrigan (0-01), B Mulrone (0-01), J McMahon (0-01), D McCusker (0-01)
Kildare: N Flynn (1-05, 3f), D Flynn (1-03), C Healy (1-02), P Brophy (0-02), K Flynn (0-02), K Feely (0-01), P Kelly (0-01), T Moolick (0-01), F Conway (0-01), P Cribbin (0-01), K Cribbin (0-01)