By Kevin Herron
St Enda’s boss Frank Fitzsimons admits that his side have prepared all year for difficult situations that they encountered during their victory over Doohamlet.
The Monaghan champions battled back into contention on three occasions before St Enda’s pulled away late in the game and Fitzsimons was delighted with how his charges responded to their setbacks.
“It’s stuff we’ve worked on all year” revealed Fitzsimons.
“We knew there was going to be times in game where we were going to be behind – it’s how you react to the situations. I thought the penalty was a bit dubious but we responded afterwards – which was a good sign when you respond to setbacks”.
“The other two goals we were caught out going forward – there were a couple of mistakes when we gave the ball away and they got us on the break, but at the same time we countered that and it was pleasing from my point of view”.
Fitzsimons was particularly pleased with his sides attitude and praised the players for not ‘rolling over’ when the going has got tough in recent weeks.
“We probably could have had two goals before the penalty but we’re just dipping our toes into Ulster for the first time” Fitzsimons reflected.
“We have to be happy enough with the way it was – I’ve been happy enough with the attitude of the boys in the last number of weeks and it’s continued on today. I’m hoping they can continue it for the next few weeks – there were a couple of times we could have rolled over and gave up but we didn’t”.
“It’s what we’ve been talking about all year and instilling in the players – we spoke about it and a lot of it is mental. You look to go out and enjoy your football but when another team hits their purple patch; it’s how you react after that and I’m pleased with how we’ve been reacting. Even against Gort Na Mona when they scored their goal – it’s a good sign for us and hopefully we can keep going”.
Fitzsimons was a spectator at the Athletic Grounds on Saturday evening as semi-final opponents Tattyreagh edged past St Peter’s from Armagh. The former Antrim boss feels that the Tyrone men are fit and strong up the middle of the field – but insists his side is up for the challenge and relishing their last four encounter.
“We play Tattyreagh – I was down watching them on Saturday night”
“They’re a good side and they had a good tussle with St Peter’s – they’re a very fit looking team and big right up the centre. Again, we’re looking forward to the challenge – it’s what we talked about before we came into the competition. Every game is a challenge – a team from a different county and I’ve been saying to the boys you want to be playing football at this time of year. Not meaningless games and league games when the leagues over – we’re in a championship that we think we can progress in and hopefully we can. It’s good to have something to still play for at this time of year”.