SFC: McDonnell and co ‘just happy to get over the line’
“Our target coming here this morning was just to get to the county final. Athlone made it very difficult for us, they went into a 0-6 to 0-1 lead and the breeze was severe early on. We did well to get in at half-time down by just 0-7 to 0-4. Overall, we’re just happy to get over the line.”
These were the initial thoughts of Tyrrellspass manager Emmet McDonnell after his side’s hard-earned 0-16 to 0-13 win over Athlone in today’s Westmeath senior football championship semi-final in TEG Cusack Park, writes Gerry Buckley.
When asked what he said to his troops during the interval, the Edenderry-based teacher replied: “We emphasised at half-time to get the ball to the right guys in the right areas. The breeze was tricky.
“We all know how accurate Ger (Egan) is, and he even missed a couple of frees, including one in front of the goal. We just had to be patient up front until the shot was on. Kieran Geraghty nailed it late on and showed great composure.”
The former Athlone manager was all too aware of the challenge which the Shannonsiders would bring to the table. In this regard, he stated: “They have some very good young footballers and they were led by the more experienced players today. They are a good team, and I know that only too well from being with them a couple of years ago.”
McDonnell’s subs worked well for him, especially Kieran Geraghty. The winning bainisteoir stated: “We weren’t afraid to make changes. There’s a good panel and a great togetherness in the squad.
“When you get tight victories like today and the last two matches, that really helps to gel a squad. There’s a lot of competition for places.”
The ‘Tidy Town’ outfit were written off by many observers after conceding 5-9 to St Loman’s, Mullingar in their first round robin game, but McDonnell wasn’t overly concerned. “To concede only nine points against St Loman’s is good. The goals we conceded that day were mistakes. Our emphasis since was to cut out the errors,” he opined.
The Kinnegad native was pleased to report an injury-free camp a fortnight on from a rematch with the Mullingar blues in the Flanagan Cup decider.
“Everybody came through today. We took off Davy Glennon near the end as we were cautious with him, but everyone seems to have got through the game OK. We are trying to nurse Davy along as we haven’t had him up till now.
“It will be down to hard work for the next two weeks. We’ll do our business as best we can,” McDonnell concluded.