Monday 27 May 2019

Ready to fight again

David Goulden

Tourlestrane joint-manager Eamonn O'Hara had admitted his side are fortunate to still be in the running for the Owen B Hunt Cup.

O'Hara watched from the sideline as the county champions were almost toppled by a determined Coolera/Strandhill outfit.

Behind by three at the break and a man down, O'Hara and co-manager Gerry McGowan kept their players in the dressing room for over a quarter of an hour as they plotted their reply.

O'Hara was coy on what was relayed and although he admits his luck, he praised his players' attitude in the second period in matching measure.

"Last year we were in the same position against Tubbercurry when the game seemed like it was running away from us but we managed to get a late score", he says.

"Thankfully we went on to win that replay and today we expected Coolera to do similar (against us).

"They came here with a game plan and we probably played into their hands in the first half rather than play to our own plan.

"We spoke about having a plan if we were three or four down or three or four up at half-time but we didn't forecast having a man sent off.

"We pride ourselves on discipline and the reaction from Brian Kennedy to get himself sent off is unfortunate.

"But we managed to put that plan in place at half-time and thankfully the lads responded really well.

"I couldn't tell you the language I used! But we dominated the first fifteen minutes of the second half to get us back in and ultimately that's what has got us to this replay."

Of the second half which Tourlestrane outscored their opponents by just three points, O'Hara noted: "We had too many turnovers up front in the first half and were forcing passes.

"We cut that down a little in the second half and dominated the midfield and that was the difference.

"Our match ups in the backs, our dominance in the midfield made the difference.

"It was slow at times but we just had to be patient and keep the ball."

Gunning for three senior titles on the bounce, O'Hara hinted that this was the first time in the current championship that his side have been asked the tough questions.

"In the last number of games, we've probably been dominating teams and this was the first time we found ourselves down and not performing well. We were calm though and we just needed to get our plan across and find our shape again.

"But in fairness to Coolera they responded, came back and went two up but again we showed character. We could have been beaten, no doubt about that. We are counting our blessings because Coolera were probably the better team overall."

Sligo Champion