Fermanagh took a step closer to this year’s Tailteann Cup quarter-finals with a hard-fought win in Carlow as Conor McShea’s goal proved the difference at Netwatch Cullen Park last Saturday.

Fermanagh sit top of Group Three winning both games while their next opponents Laois reside in second with a win and a draw.

“I thought it was very businesslike. I suppose the last 15 minutes, I thought we showed good composure to see the game out,” manager Kieran Donnelly said after the game in Carlow.

“No doubt it was frustrating in the first-half. We thought we left chances behind us when we probably should have put them to bed.

"There’s no doubt Carlow are a good team, they’ve got plenty of power, plenty of pace but the most pleasing thing for us was the last 10 minutes and how we managed it. We just kept the scoreboard ticking.”

Donnelly’s side had a variety of scorers at the weekend with seven points coming from the backline and three crucial points off the bench via Conor Love (2) and Darragh McGurn to close out the win. 

It was the calmness and ability to see the game out that pleased Donnelly the most after the final whistle. 

“The key was we didn’t panic, we knew it was going to be tight and it was going to be physical,” he added.

“It was important that we didn’t rush things and that we kept the ball moving. If we got the ball moving and moved them about, then we felt we could get them on the 1v1’s which could allow us to do harm and that’s what transpired, but it was the fact that we didn’t panic in that last period was the most pleasing thing.”

Laois grabbed a one-point win over Wicklow last Sunday to add to their opening draw with Carlow and will meet Fermanagh next Sunday (June 2) for their final group game.

Fermanagh will have the chance to seal their place in the final eight with a win over Justin McNulty’s side.

“The fact that them (Laois) and Carlow drew 2-17 probably tells its own story, Laois are a very traditional team, and they like to kick a lot of football but they have forwards to mark,” the Fermanagh boss continued.

“They are a big physical team, so we’ll have to be very much on it. The fact we have a two-week break, sort of helps you know, give us a bit of respite this week as we prepared very diligently for these two games but it’s a big focus.

"We want to top the group.”