Fermanagh manager Joe Baldwin was disappointed with his side’s second half display on Sunday but he feels that they are in a good position moving forward into the Lory Meagher Cup.
Fermanagh went down by ten points in the end to Louth in a Division 3B decider in Darver but they were very much in the game heading into the final quarter.
“It was very disappointing,” said Baldwin. “I thought we were in a really good position at half time and I thought we were playing really good hurling. The defence was playing very well and I thought we were in a good position to kick on and it is just disappointing that we didn’t see it the whole way through.”
Baldwin has repeatedly spoken about the small margins that decide games and he feels that was the case again on Sunday.
“When Tom Keenan was introduced he had a goal chance with seven minutes to go and that would have brought it back to a two point game but we didn’t get it and they went up the field and scored a goal and all of a sudden it was an eight point game; that’s the grain of sand that we talk about.
“If you look at their goals, the first goal was very good, the second though was fortuitous and again it is small margins,” he stated.
A ten point defeat may have been harsh on Fermanagh but Baldwin had no complaints and stresses that they can’t expect anything from a game with a return from a half like Fermanagh did in the second half.
“You can analyse this and say a ten point game was harsh but the reality is that if you score four points in 37 minutes of hurling in the second half you are not going to win any games.
“We had a purple patch after they got their second goal but we shot five wides and it got away from us and we found it difficult after that. That was a crucial time. We can have no complaints though and it is maybe the kick in the backside we need to move forward as we always knew we had a lot more work to do,” he added.
He is though in a positive mood about the shape his squad is in as they head into preparations for the championship.
“It was decent at times and it is not all doom and gloom, we are not in a bad position moving forward.
“There has been progress in some of the younger players who have come in and we got to look at some of them. 
“We are a bit more settled in going towards championship and we have developed a new side to our game; our ability to play the ball through the hands at times on Sunday was very good although we lost our way a wee bit.
“Look, the boys will be disappointed because it is a national final but the reality is that there is a load of positives to take from it. 
“We are in a far better place than we were going into the championship last year and we managed to get to the final then,” he said.
And he is also hopeful of having key men Barney McCauley and Kevin McGarry back in action by the time championship comes round. Both players sustained injuries in the league opener against Cavan and looked doubtful but Baldwin says they have had positive news.
“There has been good news with Barney and Kevin in that we think they will be back for the championship. That’s a big plus.”
And while he would love to have won a league title, Baldwin insists that championship is always the goal.
“I said previously that leagues are for playing and championships are for winning, we were beat on Sunday but overall there was a lot of good performances and that was our first defeat this year including challenge games. We just have to learn from it and go again,” he stated.