FERMANAGH Manager Jonny Garrity was delighted to see his side overcome Carlow to set up an All-Ireland semi-final against Limerick in ten days’ time.

The Erne side fought back from four points down at half-time to secure a hard-fought two-point victory in a tight affair on Sunday.

“We are delighted to get the job done. We were up against a very good team. Carlow were undefeated in the National League and showed a lot of good signs against Wicklow.

“They had a couple of weeks where they would have had us targeted, and I think we had to work very hard and show our quality to come out with the win,” he said.

And he praised the never-say-die attitude of his players who, he feels, never know when they are beaten.

“To be going in at half-time four points down, we knew we had to make it a battle, and we certainly did that in the second half.

“Over the course of the last two years it has become something of a trademark of ours that we are never out of a game when we are behind.

“When we were four points down at half-time, we still felt that the game was there for us if we could continue to make those chances and show maybe a bit more quality in our finishing,” he said.

It was that quality in attack that eventually saw them over the line with key forwards Eimear Smyth, Blaithin Bogue and Joanne Doonan accounting for all of Fermanagh’s 3-09.

However, Garrity was also quick to praise those further out the field who created the chances for the lethal trio.

“Like I have said in the past, some teams will be able to deal with a very good forward and maybe, if they are a good defence, they might be able to deal with two but when you have three or four players of that calibre around the forward line, it is difficult to deal with.

“What we did this week and possibly didn’t do last week was to support those girls and give them the balls in the right places and we managed to do that a lot better.


“So, we need to also credit the girls further out who created the chances and transitioned so well,” he added.

He was also pleased with how his defence stood up against a Carlow attack that also had some excellent talents in it.

“Rachel Sawyer and Cliodhna Ní Shé have caused teams problems this year and it took time to get to grips with them. They piled the pressure on and threw everything at us, so to withstand that is a real test of character.”

Garrity made a few changes from the side that started against Wicklow, with Captain Courteney Murphy missing out through injury, and the Manager had no issue in throwing in Sara Jane Jones for her championship debut.

“Courtney picked up an injury and we didn’t want to risk her if we didn’t have to.

“We had no problems putting Sara Jane in – she is a fantastic young, talented footballer; a former minor captain and somebody with a big future.

“I have got full faith in the squad and it’s a testament to the ability in the squad, and also a testament to the character of the players, because they are all fighting for places and pushing each other, and it makes our job very difficult,” he commented.

There wasn’t much time to dwell on the win, with the focus quickly turning to Limerick, with Garrity expecting a tight tussle.

“Our focus turned from Carlow to Limerick whenever the full-time whistle went on Sunday.

“We played Limerick twice last year, and they beat us by two points in the National League, and then we met them in the league semi-finals and we beat them by two points, so there was nothing between the teams last year.

“We know they still have a lot of their core players down the middle and they are a strong, mobile team with a couple of very good forwards, so we are going to have to be bang-on in our game.

“We will have to show another step up, but I believe if we do that, we have the quality, work rate and heart to give them one hell of a game,” he concluded.