Pete McGrath: Referee wouldn't have given Aidan O'Shea a penalty against Donegal or Tyrone

The Fermanagh manager stated his side are seen as a "soft touch"

BY Cian Roche 21:38 Wednesday 20 July 2016, 21:38 20 Jul 2016

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie 

Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath says there is more to come from his side despite their All-Ireland exit at the hands of Mayo.

"The last three years have been very enjoyable, very fulfilling and to be quite honest I think there is unfinished business and that there is another level, or two levels, in this team," he told Off The Ball on Wednesday evening. "I'm determined to push them on in that direction because I think they're capable of it. 

"They're very talented, very committed and they're still learning. I think in 2017, if we put in place on the things we want to put in place, we can push on to even better places."

Turning his attention to their tie with Mayo, McGrath chatted about the now infamous Aidan O'Shea incident that won Mayo a penalty, turning the game in the home side's favour in Castlebar.

"We were still leading with seven minutes to go when they got the penalty that shouldn't have been and again that absolutely torpedoed our chances. I'm not going to say that if we hadn't conceded the penalty or the penalty hadn't been awarded that we were definitely going to win. But what I will say is that we certainly could have won the match because we were ahead at that stage, and we were worth another couple of points down the other end."

"I don't really think Aidan should have done what he did. It certainly wouldn't be in my philosophy to tell any players to go out and do something like that with a view to conning the referee or winning a game by those means."

Noting that it was "gamesmanship to an extreme level" from the Mayo man, as "I think if we're going to condone that, or say that it's part of the game, then it's a very sad day for gaelic football.

"People said in the week after it that they maybe felt sorry for Aidan O'Shea for all the things that were being said about him and all the rest of it. Maybe one can feel sympathy for him but I wonder if Aidan felt any sympathy for the Fermanagh players? Whom he, by doing what he did, took away, in an unfair way, whatever chance we had of winning the game."

Shifting focus, McGrath pointed out the importance of wanting to change the mentality of the players and giving them the confidence to challenge Tyrone, Donegal and Monaghan for Ulster titles.

"This year I think we beat the teams we were expected to beat. We beat Antrim in the preliminary round at Brewster Park and then we had a very difficult and challenging game against Donegal in Ballybofey. We missed a penalty on the stroke of half-time and if we had scored that penalty, we would have been going in a point ahead at the break. 

"We had more possession than Donegal in the second half, more chances than Donegal. But the chances they got, they converted. There was big lessons to be learned from that and we used those lesson in our next game against Wexford in the qualifiers." 


You can listen to tonight's full discussion on Off The Ball below.


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