Fermanagh manager Jonny Garrity believes his side have plenty of room for improvement when they meet Louth in the TG4 All-Ireland junior final.
He was pleased with the way they dealt with the London challenge in the semi-final at St Tiernach’s Park, Clones on Saturday but knows they will need to produce more in the All-Ireland final.
“We made life hard for ourselves and we didn’t perform in the first 10, 15 minutes. But we knew that there was a performance in us and we felt confident that it would kick in.
“Thankfully it did before half-time. We got into a really good spell of play and again, we’ll have to look at how we conceded the goals. The third goal made it probably more uncomfortable than it should have been.
“We’ll go in against Louth knowing that it’s going to be one hell of a challenge. I think they’re going to be favourites, they were favourites all along. We’ll go in quietly confident that, if we can play the football we’re capable of playing, we’ll be a match for anybody on our day,” said Garrity.
His side trailed London by two goals early in the opening half, but then turned the screw with an astonishing 14 points without reply either side of the interval.
But London set up a frantic finale with a third goal from Catriona McGahan, before Fermanagh, inspired by Eimear Smyth, came out on top.
Exiles centre-forward Hannah Noonan got London’s opening goal and then the former Dublin playerinitiated an attack that led to a penalty which Avril Kilkelly fired past Shauna Murphy.
The 23rd-minute introduction of skipper Joanne Donnan helped to ignite the Fermanagh challenge.
She immediately added a brace upon her arrival and with Smyth (two) and Aisling O’Brien also finding the target, they were a single point in arrears at 2-1 to 0-6 at the break.
Garrity’s side carried this momentum forward into the second period, reeling off a succession of points to gain a firm grip on the proceedings to lead by 0-15 to 2-1.
However, London never gave up and they pushed Fermanagh to the end. Caroline McCarthy, supplementing McGahan’s 1-1 salvo off the bench, curled one between the posts to provide London with renewed hope but they were unable to catch Fermanagh.
“We started well and we are very disappointed,” said London manager Paddy Bowles. “Unfortunately, from our own point of view, it was patches in the game that we played to the standard that we can play. I think the girls, that’s the biggest disappointment with them. It’s a case that we know our execution wasn’t good enough, especially in that second half.
“Probably there was a 10-minute spell at the end of the first half, basics just kind of went out of the window unfortunately. That came back to haunt us. We came back well at the end, when it looked like Fermanagh might pull away. We kept fighting, which I can’t fault the girls’ effort for that. It was a lot of basic execution errors that let us down.”
Scorers – Fermanagh: E Smyth 0-9 (3f), B Bogue 0-3, J Donnan 0-2, A O’Brien, A Woods 0-1 each.
London: C McGahan (0-1f), H Noonan 1-1 each, A Kilkelly 1-0 (pen), C McCarthy 0-1.
Fermanagh: S Murphy; M Flynn, E Murphy, A McGovern; A Maguire, C Murphy, M McGloin; R O’Reilly, A Flanagan; N Connolly, B Bogue, D Maguire; A O’Brien, E Smyth, L Maguire. Subs: S McQuaid for McGloin (20), J Donnan for Flanagan (23), A Woods for Connolly (36), M Maguire for D Maguire (36-38, blood), S McCausland for O’Brien (39), D McManus for Bogue (58).
London: C O’Reilly; N Walsh, R Hunt, C Usher; C Twohig, N Lister, S Roche; N Daly, K Canavan; C O’Sullivan, H Noonan, C McCarthy; C O’Brien, A Kilkelly, F Morrissey. Subs: R Mills for Kilkelly (41), B Murphy for Canavan (43), C McGahan for O’Sullivan (48), N Cocoman for Roche (55).
Ref: Gerry Carmody (Roscommon).