The NBA finals get underway in America tonight. The Toronto Raptors enter as underdogs against the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors are looking for their fourth title in five years. The Raptors are in their first finals in their history.

Now, America is proliferated with sports talk shows. Imagine the Sunday Game times ten in terms of spectacle, debate and at times outlandish commentary. But there are some brilliant observations made too, and I was taken with a debate involving the colourful Stephen A Smith earlier this week.

It centred around the scoring power of the two teams. Stephen A was clear that the Warriors had a clear edge. The Raptors are accepted to be the best defensive team in basketball, but Stephen A made the point that this would not matter.

He went on to say that there was a difference between “a shooter” and a “player who can shoot”. The “player who can shoot” he argued, needed patterns of play and strategy to present him with the opportunity, while the “shooter” was an assassin who no matter how defiant the defence would eventually supply the daggers to overcome it.

He could have been talking about Fermanagh and Donegal. Last week in this column we spoke about innate shooters. We said that Donegal had more than Fermanagh. We also said that for Fermanagh to score they had to carve out precise chances, while Donegal would be able to garner a significant number of scores from individual brilliance.

And so, it panned out.

Michael Murphy, Ciaran Thompson, Patrick McBrearty and Jamie Brennan all landed points that were, in essence, impossible to defend. Murphy’s score was the perfect example of what Donegal can do. Fermanagh’s defence did everything right to push the Donegal captain out the field, yet he swung over a terrific score.

You could pick five or six other points to illustrate this ability.

For Fermanagh there were perhaps two to three scores of this quality. Points from nothing if you like. The rest of our scores were chiselled out with precision. Of course, you need precision like this if you are to be successful. But if you are to win trophies you also need plenty of moments of individual brilliance in front of the posts.

Fermanagh’s manager, Rory Gallagher, spoke about this after the game saying that Fermanagh don’t have the ability to kick these types of points at this moment in time. Looking at our league campaign, and the match on Sunday it is hard to disagree with this analysis.

There are a few observations that should be made, however.

1: Sean Quigley carried an injury into the game. Sean is our best shooter and well adept at creating something from nothing. He has done it for years. It is hard not to feel for Sean given the physical conditioning he has got himself in to this year only for a hamstring to blight his contribution. Gallagher was right to gamble with him though, we needed moments of mercurial magic from the Roslea man if we were to win. It wasn’t to be.

2: We also have to look at Fermanagh’s attacking strategy. A lot has been made about our defensive shape and dropping so many players behind the ball. We do of course. However, right from the start of the year I have been struck by the instruction that has been shouted from the side-line for men to get forward when we are in possession, and I don’t just mean to get forward in a general attacking sense, but rather a clear instruction for the man furthest forward to get himself to the edge of the square to act as a target man.

On Sunday there were times when Quigley took up this role, times when Danny Teague was in there, Eoin Donnelly and Tom Clarke near the end of the game and Paul McCusker prior to that.

You need depth to your attack if you are to keep the opposition honest. It makes them drop the sweeper deeper and opens up holes for runners, and of course if you get the ball inside successfully it gives you a much better chance to score.

Fermanagh struggle with this latter scenario and have done for a few years now. There was a passage of play that illustrated this perfectly when McCusker made three or four very good short darting runs in a 10 to 15 second period of time in the second half. There were two or three clear chances to get the ball in but either the opportunity was not spotted by the man in possession or the opportunity to kick a long ball was not chosen. The ball was recycled.

We must fix this problem. To my mind, and I may be biased in this thinking, playing in the inside forward line is hard, especially at inter county level. Speed is not enough. Strength is not enough. Ball winning ability is not enough. You need to know when to run and then to make that run with conviction.

Young Conor Love, from Enniskillen Gaels, who was so instrumental in St Michael’s Hogan Cup success is the best I have seen in the county at this type of movement in a long time. I’m not saying he is remotely ready for inter county football the way it is played nowadays, but I am simply making a point that players with this ability are not easy to find. McBrearty is a master at it for Donegal.

But what I do think we need to do is give someone this responsibility and allow the rest of the team time to learn to play with them and develop a longer ball option. It means that the designated man must stay up the pitch and not drop back. I believe it is the way the game is evolving, with many teams now reverting to having two designated inside men.

Of course, the argument will be made by leaving men up the field you compromise your defensive structure. It is a sound argument and I’m not saying it would have changed the result on Sunday. It may well have led to a larger defeat. I’m simply saying it is a small tweak that some teams are making. And this leads on to the third and final observation:

3: Do we have the shooters? This is the million-dollar question. Some people have said to me, definitively, that we do not. Others have said that we do but that because of other aspects of their game they do not fit into the game plan. I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. Rory Gallagher seems to me the best man to answer it given how intimately he knows the players he is working with at present.

We are all frustrated now. It was a tough loss. But we need to keep in mind that we gained promotion to Division Two last season, reached an Ulster Final, almost claimed promotion to Division One this season and were within striking distance of Donegal with ten to go on Sunday. We are doing an awful lot right. And there is a mountain of work being done by management and players to find the final piece of the jigsaw. Let’s keep at it.