Fitzy delighted with Naomh Eanna win but feels St Gall’s will still play a major part

By Paul McIntyre

To those of us outside the bubble of Naomh Eánna G.A.C., last Sunday’s victory over St Galls at Milltown Row would’ve come as a major shock. St Galls still have plenty of the armoury that helped land them the 2010 All-Ireland club title within their ranks and therefore a home win would have been many a neutral observer’s choice for this game. St Galls looked good to go top of Group 4 of this years Northern Switchgear championship when they lead by six points with just 15 minutes of time left on the clock. It was a performance of impressive maturity and manager Frank Fitzsimmons also praised his side’s character after the two-point win while also acknowledging that his young side still have plenty to learn at this level.

“It’s a win against a big team in Antrim which is massive” said a delighted Fitzsimmons. “We’re young and still probably a wee bit naive and stuff, but listen, that’s the way it was and they fought back, six down and they showed a lot of character in the end” said the former Antrim coach. “We still have a wee bit of work to do to get out of the group stages once you get into the quarter-finals, bigger games, a bit more pressure so hopefully they can handle it” continued Fitzsimmons.  If Sunday’s match was the barometer to which how they will approach any future big clashes, then it looks like that they aren’t that far away when it comes to handling the big game pressure. Disciplined at the back, composed and patient in attack while in Michael Morgan and Niall McKeown they certainly have an imposing presence in midfield.

The new format will also help sides like Naomh Eánna adapt to the rigours of the senior championship circuit, a format which Fitzsimmons has praised the Antrim County Board for introducing. “I think it’s great because clubs is going to get at least three games, whereas years before clubs were going out in the first round, there was nothing for lads to do and they went away and they didn’t finish leagues and stuff. I think it’s a great idea from the county.”

Before planning for their next match, 12th August away to Gort na Mona, Fitzsimmons was quick to play down his sides chances of going all the way in this year’s championship while also stating that St Galls will still have a major say in this year’s championship. “St Galls are still well there. Nobody need tell me they still couldn’t win the championship this year”. “I would make them second favourites behind Cargin myself” before adding that “we’re only the young kids coming along here”.

Young kids they may be, but they are young kids that are learning, and learning quickly.

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