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GAA Football

Ex-Fermanagh manager Dominic Corrigan hits out at Donegal boss

Former Fermanagh boss Dominic Corrigan
Colm Bradley

Former Fermanagh manager, Dominic Corrigan, has hit out at Donegal boss Declan Bonner for what Corrigan believes was an attempt to put ‘unwanted pressure' on referee David Gough, in the build up to Sunday's Ulster final between the Erne county and Donegal

Corrigan said he was 'taken aback' with Bonner's comments that Donegal's Ryan McHugh ‘doesn't get enough protection' and that he has ‘been targeted by opposing teams'.

The Donegal manager went on to say: “Officials are there and they pick up a lot of stuff but for some reason or other they don't seem to pick up what's going on with the likes of Ryan.”

Corrigan, who managed Fermanagh in 2002 and 2003, believes that Bonner is trying to influence Gough ahead of Sunday's clash:

“I was very taken aback by Declan Bonner's comments and I don't feel he has to resort to that type of stuff in the lead up to games.

“Every referee goes out to do their best and they don't need that sort of pressure coming upon them. I really don't think there was any need for Declan to do that.”

However, Corrigan, who guided Kilyclogher to a Tyrone Championship in 2016, is confident that Bonner's comments won't sway Gough, who took charge of Donegal's preliminary round clash with Cavan earlier this season.

“I have watched David referee on a number of occasions now and he is a very strong referee and I don't think he is going to be influenced by what Declan has said,'' added Corrigan.

“But the bottom line is that those sorts of comments should not have been put out there by Declan.”

Corrigan also took issue with Bonner's observation that McHugh was ‘not the biggest in the world' and that as a result needed the ‘protection' of referees.

Corrigan, who played in the 1982 Ulster final for the Ernemen, feels bringing the stature of a player into the equation is something of a red herring: “It doesn't really matter the size of the player.

“A foul is a foul and the referee has to determine what he is going to do. For a good referee it doesn't matter if the player is 6ft 4 or 5 ft 5, if the player is fouled he will give the free.”

Looking at the game itself Corrigan makes a case for the much-maligned Erne attack and believes they could perform better than in their previous games with Armagh and Monaghan.

“Donegal have put up big scores against the three teams they have played to date in Ulster and of course Fermanagh have not been scoring as freely as we would like but I have faith in our forward line and I think they can deliver,'' he stated.

“Just because they haven't clicked yet does not mean they won't on Sunday.”

The St Michael's College school teacher also sees the middle of the field as a vital area and believes the Fermanagh defensive system will need to be at its best to shut down a quality Donegal attack: “The middle of the field will be vital. Ryan Jones and Eoin Donnelly have given Fermanagh an excellent platform in the two games to date while the defensive set up that we have has obviously been very tight and mean.

“So it is going to be crucial to see if Fermanagh can keep that going against a Donegal attack that has been free-scoring.”

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