Sports

Delighted Flanagan Expresses Confidence About Offaly's Prospects

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Delighted Flanagan Expresses Confidence About Offaly's Prospects thumbnailContesting the aerial ball were Offaly’s Eoin Carroll and Antrim’s Martin Johnson.

'I HONESTLY believe that if we can perform to the best of our ability, we are a match for anyone,' Offaly manager Pat Flanagan said after watching his side get their Allianz National Football League Division 3 campaign back on track with a run away win over Antrim in Tullamore last Sunday.

The Clara man was thrilled with the way Offaly played in a surprisingly easy 0-23 to 1-7 win and the result gives them a real boost after a pretty horrific performance in their opening defeat by Longford.

He was very pleased with the way the squad responded to adversity. 'Basically we gave a very poor performance against Longford. We met on the Monday night, discussed it and decided to focus on the game against Antrim. We agreed we were way below par against Longford and decided to step it up and give it a go. We got that in abundance,' he remarked.

There was a massive difference between the two performances in terms of pace and intensity and Flanagan was quick to accept responsibility for the sluggish nature of their display against Longford.

'I have to take some responsibility for that. We played Fermanagh in a challenge game the Sunday before Longford because the previous week, a team had pulled out of a challenge and we felt we needed one. Maybe in hindsight, it was not the wisest thing to do. We had an excellent game against Fermanagh and thought we were going well but it may have taken too much out of the team with traveling up there and all that.'

He elabourated: 'The big issue with this squad is confidence and self belief. I believe we have a good team and once everything is in tip top shape, we can perform. Against Longford last year in the championship and in the league final the previous year, we showed that and yesterday was one of our better games. It was quite satisfying. Our movement of the ball, coming off the shoulder and quality of play was good.

'Having said that, we dropped six or seven balls short and had seven or eight wides. There is still room for improvement.'

At half time, Offaly led by 0-9 to 0-4 after playing with the wind and they still had plenty of work to do to secure the points but they turned in a sensational second half display, outscoring the visitors by 0-13 to 1-3.

'It was amazing. We game out after half time, got the first two points and our whole demeanour changed. Everything after that was quality. We got a bit of a cushion and that gave us the self belief that we could score against the strong breeze. From that point on, everyone pushed on. Everyone was looking to score and push on which was very encouraging.

Now Offaly have a week off before they face Louth who will travel to Tullamore full of confidence after opening wins over Laois and Longford. 'They are going to come to Tullamore full of confidence after two wins. They did quite well in the O'Byrne Cup and seem to be on top of our game but it is all about us.

We have to be at our best, physically and mentally and once we are, I believe we can cope with any team. I believe we have very serious footballers and yesterday's win will give us the confidence to take it on.'

Flanagan is still not sure if Niall McNamee will be back for the Louth game, revealing that he is still battling a shoulder injury.

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