“We can’t have any complaints,” was the straight-forward and honest reaction of Fergal O’Flaherty last Sunday evening in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada as the Glencar/Manorhamilton manager was the first to admit that the better side won on the day.
The disappointment as missing out on history was all too evident on Manorhamilton faces last Sunday and Fergal pin-pointed Melvin Gaels two goals as the key turning point – “The scoreline tells it all, 2-7 to 0-7. The goal was the difference in the first half and I suppose it was a fortunate goal as well.
“We got back into the game in the second half, we were beginning to build a performance, we got three scores in a row and were looking like we could push on and then we got the sickener of a soft goal which kind of took the wind out of our sails.
“We can’t really have any complaints. Melvin Gaels put it up to us in the first half, they had chances and probably a bit more possession but I thought if we had pushed on when we got three scores in a row, we would have won the game but we didn’t.
“We had a chance of a free to level it up but it didn’t go over and there was a lull there for ten minutes in the second half when nothing was happening and then the goal happened. It killed the impetus. We just couldn’t get level and I thought that if we got level, we would have pushed on and won the game but it wasn’t to be.
“It was a fairly even game in terms of possession and chances, we didn’t get the goals and they did and that is what decided it.”
Fergal conceded that maybe Manorhamilton’s desire wasn’t quite as powerful as in previous years – “I think we’ve struggled to find the hunger at time, I think we’ve found it in patches in games. I thought we found it there in the second half at the start but you couldn’t really fault the effort the players put in.
“Melvin Gaels brought an awful lot of energy to the game, you cannot take it away from them. They were extremely hungry and because of that, they deserved it. I wouldn’t fault our lads in any way for effort or desire but on the day, they just came up against a hungry team but also the luck wasn’t on their side.”
Missing out on the five-in-a-row was a major blow for Fergal personally but long term, he believes that the former champions will come back stronger than ever – “It is very hard. It is very disappointing for me after coming in when they’ve won four-in-a-row and to be the one who doesn’t win a county title, to be honest, it is very disappointing.
“I think the ability is there to bounce back, maybe it is better now that all this talk of five in a row is gone and maybe we can bounce back next year with a new impetus and knock Melvin Gaels off their perch, that’ll be the drive for next year.”