Offaly manager speaks to us ahead of Sunday's league clash with Fermanagh
Offaly football boss Stephen Wallace has told the Offaly Express that his team is keen to "get back on the horse" and put right the wrongs that led to their 3-18 to 1-13 defeat to Longford last weekend as they gear up for Fermanagh on Sunday.
"Everything went wrong, to be honest," Wallace remarked. "It was just one of those days. You can't legislate for dropped balls, misplaced passes, or failing to pick up the ball. We couldn't get out of our own half, we were poor and Longford capitalised on that," he added.
"League is a different level of pressure and young lads can sometimes overthink things a bit too much." He also said that people may have got a little bit carried away after the O'Byrne Cup and that last week's performance didn't "match that expectation." "All we can do is apologise for that and say that we'll go back to work this Sunday."
The Kerry native said the lads have knuckled back down to training this week, and that they "haven't time to be pining over a result like that." "Look, it was hard to take the defeat, but you do your analysis and get back up on the horse. We have to take something from it, we have to learn from it," he continued.
Offaly face Fermanagh this weekend away in Brewster Park on Sunday afternoon, and Stephen Wallace admitted that they present "a massive task" for his charges.
"It will be a big step up in intensity, and Fermanagh under new management will be well structured with a lot of quality players like Eoin Donnelly and Aidan Breen."
"These lads have been on the road a long time and it will be tough to go up there," Wallace said. It's no secret that Fermanagh aim to go straight back up to Division 2 after relegation last year, and got off to the perfect start with a 3-07 to 2-05 win over Wexford last weekend.
The Offaly boss also pointed to the fact that his squad is young, saying that "we are only at this three months and we're trying to mould a county team." "It's virtually a whole new team bar the five or six lads that were there last year, so it is going to take time."
Although pointing to a higher intensity in the league over the likes of the O'Byrne Cup, as well as the added pressure it brings, Stephen also dismissed suggestion that Ulster teams have a reputation for being tough in terms of the physical edge they bring to games.
"The days of off the ball nonsense or negative tactics from Ulster teams is long gone. Every county team is able to look after themselves anyway." He said he wouldn't let the physical aspect of the game affect his team selection.
Wallace concluded by saying that he is taking his team up to Brewster Park "looking for a performance" and "having a cut" at their Ulster rivals. He insists that getting a performance and playing well, irregardless of the result is a major factor to boost confidence in the squad.
Fermanagh are 1/5 favourites to get past the challenge of Offaly, while Offaly are priced at odds of 4/1 to cause the upset.
Offaly's game with Fermanagh throws in at 2pm on Sunday, February 4 at Brewster Park, Enniskillen.
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