GAA Football

Promotion and consolidation on mind of Fermanagh's Snow

Fermanagh goalkeeper Chris Snow  

PROMOTION and consolidation are on the mind of Fermanagh goalkeeper Chris Snow, but only the latter in a footballing context.

The St Joseph’s, Ederney clubman has had a hectic start to the year, on and off the pitch. Now a Group Planning Manager for the Foyle Food Group, he was “promoted about a month ago, so I’ve been flat out trying to learn the new job.”

He’s also been keeping goal for the county, back in the team after Thomas Treacy was first choice during the run to the All-Ireland quarter-finals. However, 26-year-old Snow is not taking it for granted that he’ll keep that number one jersey: “Last season, it started off with me and Tom being rotated during the league - he was playing well and probably deservedly held the spot. I couldn’t really complain much.

“This season Tom came in with an injury and missed the whole McKenna Cup, so that gave me a chance to have a run of games and put my stake in. I wouldn’t say I’ve nailed it down - every Friday night when Pete names the team, you still be getting nervous until he calls your name out.

“Tom proved last year that he’s well capable of doing the job. There’s great competition between the two us. I’m just taking it game by game because you’re only as good as your last game. With Tom being there, putting so much pressure on, that’s the way you have to do it.”

One upside of work is that travel isn’t arduous as it might be: “I’m lucky enough that the central sales office is in Omagh, so it’s only 20 minutes down the road. They’ve sites in England, Cookstown, Derry, and Donegal but I can work out of Omagh.”

When it’s put to him how lucky he is to work in the O’Neill county, he ripostes: “It’s the only good thing about it!,” before quickly adding: “My mother’s from Tyrone so I better say nothing…”

Yet he may get some more benefit from Tyrone, as former Red Hand goalkeeper Finbarr McConnell has taken over as his club boss. So far, though, they’ve seen little of each other, due to a clash with county training: “He was only appointed about a fortnight ago, partly because the club season in Fermanagh went on so long. We got to the league final, didn’t get finished up until December 13.

“I only got to the training session the day after the Armagh game but training is usually on Tuesdays and Fridays when we’re out with the county, so I haven’t been much with the club yet.”

He’s done well with Fermanagh so far, and he’s well aware of the importance of a good defence to the Erne men’s chances: “You look at many successful teams, barring probably Dublin, and their foundations have all been built on good defences, then working from that. Donegal are the perfect example - but even Kerry, when they beat Donegal in the [2014] final, their base for winning that final was their defensive system and nullifying Donegal.

“We have been relatively good, if you take out the Derry game [when Fermanagh conceded 3-13 in the league opener], but even the first half of that we were fairly tight, but the second half we leaked a wee bit. Armagh, we kept their score to 1-10, but their goal was probably our downfall that night. There is a big emphasis on keeping it tight at the back and building from that.”

Fermanagh lost both those Division Two away games against Ulster opposition but recorded home wins against Meath and Laois, so something has to give when neighbours Cavan come to Brewster Park on Saturday night.

Snow insists Fermanagh aren’t getting carried by last weekend’s 10-point win over Laois, saying: “Yeah, we were delighted, but Laois were poor on the day. In saying that, we did play well and we’d be confident in our own ability to get good results. Maybe from the outside it was seen as a big result, but we have belief in ourselves.”

Fermanagh may well have to be as good again, if not better, in the rest of the league, with Cavan’s visit followed by games against Galway and Tyrone, and Snow accepts that challenge: “All the games in Division Two have been a step up from last year in the League. Cavan will be a tight game. We are confident in our own ability but Cavan are obviously flying so we know we’ll be in for a tough time.”

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