Sean Og O’hAilpin has praised Fermanagh manager Rory Gallagher for making a huge call last Sunday for their Ulster semi-final clash with Monaghan when he dropped star forward Seamus Quigley for a breach of discipline.
The Ernesiders stunned Monaghan bydefeating them and booking their place in this year’s Ulster Final where they’ll meet either Donegal or Down. Speaking on this week’s Super8s podcast O’hAilpin said: “You need liathróidí mór to make a call like that. Fortune favours the brave and that was a brave call. Personally if i was a coach in his position I’d be doing the same as well. You can’t have any players going out with negative thoughts or spreading that type of atmosphere. Whether you thought it, you wouldn’t be going out saying it out loud.”
O’hAilpin’s father is from Fermanagh but even he was shocked by their win over Monaghan last weekend: “I was gobsmacked when I heard the result. This was a Monaghan team that beat Dublin earlier on this year in the league. They’re in Division 1, Fermanagh were in Division 3. On paper Fermanagh don’t have the same prolific forward as Conor McManus.”
Although the hurling championship has once against captivated audiences O’hAilpin admitted the football has caught people’s imaginations with underdogs securing famous wins: “This is becoming the year of the underdog so far. Carlow doing a job on Kildare, Longford beating Meath, Fermanagh not alone beating Armagh in the first round but they back it up beating Monaghan their near neighbours.”
With an Ulster Final to look forward to in just over two weeks time O’hAilpin believes anything now for Fermanagh is a bonus: “They are in the Ulster Final now. Hats off and kudos for Fermanagh for getting that result. Any game for them from now on is a bonus. Even if they make it to the Super8s it’s a win, win situation. If they win they’re the greatest team on earth and if they lose sure people weren’t expecting them to win anyway. Very few teams can go into the championship like that.”