Fermanagh joint Manager Tony Collins was disappointed that his side failed to perform in the second half as Cavan came from six points down to secure a three-point win over Fermanagh in the Ulster Minor Championship Qualifiers at Brewster Park on Saturday.

However, he also praised Cavan for their performance in the second half as they went on to dominate the ball.

“The second half probably overshadows the excellent effort, commitment and everything else in the first half,” said Collins.

“We just didn’t appear out of the changing room after half time, but credit to Cavan – they pushed up on the kick-outs and we couldn’t get primary possession at all, and we made too many unforced errors.

“That all gave them confidence because we had them rattled in the first half, but we gave balls away and they were able to chip away at points, and that settled them.”

That was in contrast to the first half when Fermanagh plundered three goals while at the other end of the pitch, goalkeeper Shea McElroy pulled off some excellent stops.

“It was a combination of fantastic saves and great finishing and like the Down game, we could have been further ahead at half time with a bit more composure.

“It was a mighty first half, but our goalkeeper also made some fantastic saves, so there was openings there.

“But, we couldn’t have asked for much more from the boys – they were hungry to make up for the Donegal game,” added Collins.

And he was delighted with some of their attacking play in the first half, although he felt that they could have been further ahead.

“There is a bit of craft in attack; there is a decent forward line there and even during the league, they have been scoring goals and cutting teams open.

“To score three goals was pleasing, but it was a bit frustrating that we missed some scores too in the first half, and then we were put under pressure in the second half, and when we needed to keep the scoreboard ticking we didn’t, as we were struggling to get ball in the middle third,” he said.

This is a youthful Fermanagh side and Collins thought that Cavan’s greater experience was also a telling factor in the second half.

“The lack of experience of some of the lads at that level told a wee bit;Cavan were that wee bit older and had that bit more experience, and possibly their physicality told as well.

“It was also very hard for the boys to play the same game in the second half as they had in the first with regards to energy, as it was a warm day,” he said.

However, he believes that the year as a whole has been a success.

“The key for us was to make the lads competitive, and I suppose apart from Donegal in the league and Donegal in the championship, every other game was relatively competitive, and to pick up a win against Down in the championship was great encouragement for the lads.

“Hopefully, they can go and build on this and push on next year. This is a young group – there are six or seven of those boys who featured on Saturday who will be underage next year,” he commented.