The most logical time to put in a firm foundation is as early as possible and that theory served St Eunan’s well as they defeated Roslea Shamrocks in the Ulster club championship quarter-final yesterday.
The Letterkenny side – playing their seventh championship match in as many weeks – hit the ground running against the Fermanagh champions.
As has become the norm with the team managed by Maxi Curran, their patient approach was the key to the 1-9 to 0-6 victory.
At half-time, those sturdy foundations meant a 1-5 to 0-0 lead.
“It’s a situation we haven’t had to deal with since the group match against Naomh Muire [when St Eunan’s won 1-21 to 1-5] when we were well in the ascendancy at half-time,” Curran said.
“Maybe in the back of their minds they felt that they were comfortable and it was a case of holding what we had.
“That wasn’t what we asked them to do - we asked them to go and attack the second half with the same vigour they did in the first.”
Still, with a lot of field miles clocked up since the ball was thrown in for the Donegal SFC at Connolloy Park in Malin on the last Sunday in September, St Eunan’s are as far in the provincial championship as they have ever been.
Only in 1968 and 2008 have they made the last four in Ulster so next Sunday’s clash with St Enda’s from Omagh at Celtic Park will offer the club the chance to swim in uncharted waters.
Roslea were kept scoreless from play for 56 minutes and managed just the two points that weren’t from placed balls.
“This was game seven on the bounce and it was very tough physically as well as mentally,” Curran added.
“It’s hard to come down from winning a county title and get ready for another challenge straight away. Now, they have to do that again this week.
“That will take a toll at some stage. You can’t but be impressed by the way that they have conducted themselves and carried themselves.”
Despite their defensive solidity, St Eunan’s aren’t a team who are set up to smother others.
“They’re enjoyable to watch, they’re brave and they’re not afraid to have a go,” Curran said of his team.
“They’re not sitting back waiting on the other team to come onto them.
“Omagh were here today and watched us and they were at the county final last week too. They will be better prepared for us than we are for them. Momentum is a big factor. It’s crucial to have that. It would be nice to have a bit of time to prepare for the opposition.
“You’re doing it at the last minute and you back is to the wall. We haven’t had a chance to see Omagh in the flesh, which is a big drawback. Momentum is key and it’s a great thing to have on your side.”