GAA Football

More relaxed atmosphere without changing rooms: St Enda's boss Frank Fitzsimons

St Enda's manager Frank Fitzsimons after last Sunday's win over St Gall's Picture: Mal McCann.

ST Enda’s Glengormley manager Frank Fitzsimons likes the “more relaxed” atmosphere of having no changing rooms for games after he watched his side fight back to beat St Gall’s in the Northern Switchgear Antrim SFC round robin series at the weekend.

Due to Covid19 restrictions, changing facilities are still off limits and while their absence comes with logistical problems, Fitzsimons is happy to continue without them.

The Hightown Road men came from six points down to beat a fancied St Gall’s team by two points that edges them closer to the quarter-final knock-out stages.

“Having no changing rooms is no different, really,” said Fitzsimons.

“If anything, it’s a wee bit more relaxed because there are no changing rooms. I like to see boys walking about a pitch before a game because sometimes in the build-up you can see nerves in players. I think the players look more relaxed and is a lot better.”

With a couple of weeks' break until they resume away to Gort na Mona on Wednesday August 12, Fitzsimons is keeping his fingers and toes crossed Covid doesn’t play havoc with the club championships.

“You just don’t know. One week [the R rate] is up and then it’s down when you look at the news in the south,” said the Lamh Dhearg clubman.

“Hopefully the championship gets finished and whatever league games that are there get played. You just have to stay as positive as you can.

“To be fair, we’re lucky at the minute because everyone is at home,” Fitzsimons added.

“Normally we’d have lost a few players through travelling. They had a big year a couple of seasons ago but young lads have to get away and live a life outside of Gaelic football. I know we all want them to be committed seven days a week but it’s not like that. You can’t be like that. You can’t hold them under lock and key.”

With two out of the three teams in Group Four progressing to the quarter-final stages and Gort na Mona on the back foot following back-to-back losses, St Gall’s boss Paddy Murray won’t be taking their west Belfast neighbours for granted when they clash on August 19.

“We’re not out of the group,” Murray said after Sunday’s two-point defeat on home soil.

“We’ll not disrespect Gort na Mona who’ll be buoyed by this result and they’ll be coming here to take a scalp, so we need to be ready for that.”

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GAA Football