Aidan O'Shea penalty incident has Chris Snow questioning his Fermanagh future
THE controversial manner of Fermanagh’s exit from the All-Ireland series earlier this year left goalkeeper Chris Snow questioning whether he would return for another year.
The 27-year-old is bracing himself for what will be his last year in county colours but he was left seriously considering whether to return after the controversial penalty that Mayo were awarded late in their Qualifier meeting in July.
Aidan O’Shea’s theatrical tumble beneath the challenge of Ché Cullen offered Cillian O’Connor a spot-kick that turned the game in favour of the eventual All-Ireland runners-up. It left Fermanagh still searching for a win over a major footballing power and Snow says that it almost led him to retire from inter-county football over the winter.
“People can say what they like about the top teams and the work they put in, but the top teams are the ones getting playing in Croke Park week-in, week-out in front of 50,000, and seem to get everything handed to them," he said.
“Last year, the Aidan O’Shea incident, it’s hard to take and you’re thinking is it worth it all at the end of it? The things you miss out on - stag parties, mates’ weddings, one thing and another. You do question it from time to time.
“I had a good long think about it and decided I’d give it another year. I don’t know if it was wise or not, but I decided to go anyway. I was very close to not going back. I was busy with work too at the time and I didn’t know if it would be worth it. But I thought I’ll give it one more year and see where that takes us.”
The Ederney stopper was a solid performer between the sticks for the Ernemen last season, nailing down the number one shirt ahead of Tom Treacy. He has committed to what he expects to be his final season on the inter-county scene and amid the game’s growing professionalism, Snow finds the mental battle with the winter slog hardest.
“It probably is, more so at this time of year. When you come to Championship season and the evenings are bright, it’s not as big a problem to head out the door," he added.
“An evening like [Tuesday] evening, it never stopped raining all day and you’re heading to Lissan knowing you’re doing goalkeeping work, diving and throwing yourself through pure muck, and you’re going to be foundered for an hour-and-a-half, it just doesn’t be as appealing.
“It’s probably more to do with the professionalism of it now. Everything’s monitored. It mightn’t be the number of hours you spend on the pitch, that might still be the same, but it’s the diet, your strength and conditioning, recovery sessions; the intensity of it all.”
A former bricklayer, who served his apprentice under the father of Ederney and Fermanagh team-mates Paul and Declan McCusker, he moved into production planning with Foyle Food Group when the site work dried up.
Paul McCusker made the same move and the pair still work together in Omagh. The fact that he gets home for an hour each day before training has been one of the key factors in Snow sustaining his inter-county career.
“There’s plenty of boys would be coming straight from work, the boys in Belfast. The Dublin boys make it up whenever they can. Tomás [Corrigan], whenever he comes up he wouldn’t even get home, he just comes straight from work. At least I’m home at 10pm, he mightn’t be back home til half 11," he said.
“You miss being about home and spending time with the wee man [his 15-month old son, JJ]. You’re feared of missing out too. I’m sure plenty of boys would be happy enough to play on, but I don’t want to miss out at home.”