Home GAA Something Is Wrong: Why Is Fermanagh’s Positivity & Pride Being Criticised?

Something Is Wrong: Why Is Fermanagh’s Positivity & Pride Being Criticised?

Fermanagh have been unfairly criticised for their so-called post-match ”enjoyment” in the wake of last Sunday’s defeat to Dublin. In fact, throughout the game and after, the Ernesiders displayed huge positives that are associated with the GAA but have been missing of late.

Their attitude was a breath of fresh air.

In the last twenty minutes of Fermanagh’s clash with the Dubs, the Ernesiders, both players and fans looked to be really enjoying the occasion, none more so than Sean Quigley.

The game was beyond Fermanagh but the heart, determination, passion and character shown by the Fermanagh team has to be commended. Their evident satisfaction at the final whistle of a solid performance at Croker was a breath of fresh air.

However, it has only merited criticism.

Jim McGuinness criticised the fact that the Fermanagh players met with family and friends, moments after the final whistle.

”The Fermanagh boys came back out and they were hugging their family and friends and the scene was one of joy. And that spooked me because they had been well beaten in an All-Ireland quarter-final.”

The former Donegal manager is sensing a culture of mediocrity creeping in to the game. However, for a team that hadn’t played in Croke Park since 2004, that started this year’s national leagues in Division 3 and that have a selection of just 20 clubs to pick from, the big occasions are to be remembered in Fermanagh.

The Irish News’ Paddy Heaney was also critical of the post-match actions of the Fermanagh players.

”There were no tears in the Fermanagh changing room on Sunday. Far from it. At the final whistle, the players stayed on the pitch and applauded their supporters. The fans were jubilant. The players sang on the bus on the way home.”

The reference to the players singing on the bus home came courtesy of a video posted by Fermanagh full-forward, Sean Quigley.

The video sparked controversy and caused debate on whether or not the Fermanagh squad should have been singing and enjoying the bus journey home.

Their season had just finished. Pete McGrath’s charges reached the last eight of the All-Ireland championship and have been the only team so far this year to score a goal against the Dubs. Why not enjoy the bus journey home?


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After all, these Fermanagh lads were probably back in work the following morning. They are not professional athletes. They play for their county and after achieving a fair amount this season and displaying passion, pride and heart donning their county colours on Sunday, they deserved to enjoy a their final bus journey home of 2015.

Pete McGrath and Fermanagh deserve immense credit for their performance on Sunday. They set up to attack Dublin, the only side to do it all year. They left everything out on the field and ended up winning the second-half on a coreline of 2-09 to 1-10.

McGrath had nothing but praise for his side after the match.

“We had nine wides in the first half. We were ten points down at half-time and we faced a choice: we could either lie down in front of them, or we could go out and fight and show the character and spirit and skill that we’d shown all year, and in the second half the players did that.

“The energy they put into that second half, the way they kept going, some of the scores they got, some of the fluency in our play and at the very end, when the match was over, the reaction of the Fermanagh crowd to the team was nearly unprecedented in Croke Park.”

McGrath’s smile at the end, Tomás Corrigan’s natural reaction of delight after scoring the second goal and Sean Quigley’s charisma and his relationship with Hill 16 certainly was a breath of fresh air.

Fermanagh displayed passion, pride and heart wearing their county colours and did their native county proud on Sunday. Isn’t that what the GAA is all about…or used to be all about?

Seán Ó Murchú, Pundit Arena


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