OMAGH Accies head coach Phil Marshall has promised that ‘heads will roll’ if he doesn’t get a reaction against Enniscorthy tomorrow after watching his side capitulate against City of Derry last time out.
Having dominated the opening half an hour at Judges Road, Marshall was left fuming by his side’s lack of clinical edge and lack of fight in the second half as the home side, who the Accies defeated three times last season, sealed a 23-19 victory.
“For the first half an hour we were all over them and we should have been out of sight, there’s no doubt about that!,” he observed.
“We gave them an awful soft try just before half-time, so instead of us being three or four tries up at half-time, they were going in just one point behind, which was a travesty!
“The thing that annoyed me the most was the last 15 minutes – they wanted it more. We lost the breakdown and that really annoyed me.
“There are small technical things we can work on in training, but I can’t give heart and desire, that has to come from within and as I said to them, we’re lucky in so far as no one is running away with the league.”
The fact that the Accies trail leaders, Enniscorthy by just three points isn’t lost upon Marshall, who realises their next three fixtures, which are all against the current top three, could be decisive in their season, even at this early stage.
“We’ve three brutal hard games coming up. [Enniscorthy, Midleton and Bruff] are three big, physical teams but while we respect them, we’re not afraid of them,” he explained.
“We cannot win the league in the next three games, but we can lose it, that’s the problem.
“If at the end of these next three games we’re sitting were we are today, three points behind the leaders, I’ll be happy.
“All I want to do is get to Christmas and still be in the mix. Hopefully boys will be getting fitter because we have a fitness issue, which isn’t like us, and it’s important people.
“You can’t fix that in a week, that’s something that’s going to progress over the next six weeks.”
Ahead of Saturday’s clash with newly promoted Enniscorthy, Marshall confirmed he will be without prop Ricky Hemphill, so Kyle Alexander may come into the mix, while captain Adam Longwell may return.
However, they will still be without Stuart Allen and Matthew Eccles, so he’s contemplating making positional changes in the backs to freshen things up.
Regardless of what side he names, one thing is for certain, Marshall wants to see fight and a clinical edge.
“I know what’s coming, the players should know what’s coming. Enniscorthy are a good side, but at the end of the day I don’t fear them,” he added.
“This is the next big challenge and we’ll have to step up to the mark. I want to see a reaction and if I don’t then heads will roll!
“When we get into their 22, we need to be extremely clinical and accurate and if we can get that and be more aggressive at the breakdown, we’ll be very, very hard to beat.
“The main thing for me is that we implement the style of play into the game we want to play but that ability, that ruthlessness, that aggression, that desire, that resilience has to come from the players.”
Kick-off tomorrow is 2.30pm.