Coa manager ready to refocus for replay

By Mark McGoldrick

COA manager Gary Donnelly feels his players have “more in the locker” ahead of their Fermanagh Junior Championship final replay against Derrylin.

For a large part of their drawn encounter a week ago, the O’Dwyer’s dominated and went into injury time with a five-point lead, but the game was unbelievably turned on its head as Derrylin fought back to level it.

The replay is set to go ahead on Friday, and Donnelly says that they’re determined to get things right at the second time of asking, but it won’t be straightforward as Derrylin are set to welcome a number of players who were in self-isolation due to Covid-19 regulations.

“I am sure a few of our players feel that they have more in their locker than what they showed in the drawn match.

“Our job now as a management group will be to reflect, re-adjust and refocus everyone for the replay.”

Derrylin hit five points in-a-row during a surreal period of injury time in treacherous weather conditions. Donnelly said a replay was a fair result for both teams, even though he’d have been disappointed that they let things slip right at the death.

“There was confusion at the end with regards to whether there was extra-time or a replay, but I think neither team could argue with the draw probably being a fair reflection of the game overall.

“The weather made it a difficult night football for football and credit must be given to the refereeing officials. I thought they handled the game well.”

In the opening stages of the first half, Coa struggled and Derrylin led by a point at half time.

After the interval, Coa dominated the game and looked like they had one hand on the trophy as the game entered injury time.

Overall, Donnelly feels that his players can take good heart from the way they played for large parts of the game.

“Derrylin, in fairness, got a better grip of the weather conditions in the early stages of the game.

“When we started to get into the game and manage their movement, we were able to impose our game better, up until the last 10 minutes in which Derrylin wrestled back the momentum, right up until the end.”

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