If teams are a reflection of the personality of their management teams, it’s fair to say Fermanagh are a hardier bunch this year but Ryan McMenamin insists top teams like Dublin “get away with murder”.
Erne boss Rory Gallagher and his sidekicks McMenamin and Shane McCabe were no shrinking violets in their own playing days and regardless of John McEntee’s claim that Fermanagh are displaying a ‘darker edge’, the Erne players have been tougher and better at closing out games on their successful run to Sunday’s Ulster SFC final.
McMenamin cited Dublin’s defence, and insists any changes in Fermanagh’s temperament this year have been player-led.
“You might get a bit of criticism from pundits and the like about closing out games but the top teams, and I’m looking at Dublin, they seem to play with an edge and seem to get away with murder.
“All the top teams do that.”
It would not be an unfair observation to say Fermanagh were too nice over the years and too naïve at times when it came to game management.”
“But whether it’s me or Rory talking to them, we’re asking more of the players and for the thing to be player-led.
“If they want to close out games better, it’s not going to be me, it’s not going to be Rory, it’s not going to be Shane (McCabe). It’s going to be themselves so the boys have taken that on board.
“I don’t think we’ve put our personality on them. I think the players have stepped up to the plate themselves.”
McMenamin is enjoying being cast as an underdog in almost every game Fermanagh has played this year.
A three-time All-Ireland winner with Tyrone, that was not a role he found himself in often — particularly at provincial level — and if his attempts to wind up the opposition on the sideline this year are anything to go by, he’ll do whatever he can to help improve Fermanagh’s lot. “Every team tries to get under another team’s skin, whether underdogs or favourites.
“We know on Sunday it will be a tough one and we will have to bring it to another level just to keep up with Donegal.”
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