GAA Football

Fermanagh believes Ulster title is coming home says Erne county stalwart Tomas Corrigan

Tomas Corrigan lost his place in the Fermanagh starting line-up this season, but made his mark in the semi-final win over Monaghan. Pic Philip Walsh.
Andy Watters

FERMANAGH believes that 130 years of provincial pain will finally come to an end on Sunday.

Tomas Corrigan says the Erne county has united behind Rory Gallagher’s underdogs who will take on favourites Donegal in Clones determined to get their hands on the Anglo-Celt Cup for the first time.

“There’s great belief in the county that we can go on and win. It’s exciting,” said forward star Corrigan.

The Dublin-based solicitor was a fan in the Clones stands a decade ago when Fermanagh’s poor finishing allowed Armagh to wriggle off the hook and take the Ulster crown.

“This is special,” said Corrigan, who now plays his football with Oliver Plunkett’s in Dublin.

“This is my eighth year on the Fermanagh panel, and there have been a lot of years we didn’t go too far. I was there in 2008 for both games. It was heart-breaking, I remember the missed frees that could maybe have swung it Fermanagh’s way – there was just intense disappointment after those games so hopefully it’ll be a different story on Sunday.

“Hopefully, if we’re still in the game in those crucial moments, I’ll be there to step up and kick the frees.”

Corrigan had gone from a certain starter last season to this year’s forgotten man before he reminded everyone of his worth with a late two-point cameo against Monaghan in Fermanagh’s dramatic Ulster semi-final win.

“I’ve had a frustrating year with injuries and it was hard just to get a run of trainings under my belt,” he explained.

“I’m just delighted now that I’ve been able to put a good run at it in the last month or so – I’m happy to get back to a bit of form.

“It was a very frustrating couple of months trying to get back from injury and I felt I was getting there and then I got another setback.

“I knew coming into the Monaghan game that I had done a good bit of training and I felt confident in my kicking. I knew that if I got on and there were a couple of chances that I would nail them and thankfully I did and I was able to contribute to the win.”

Fermanagh went into that semi-final as rank underdogs against a Monaghan side that had dethroned three in-a-row chasing Tyrone in their previous game. Monaghan led by two-points with the game in injury-time before Eoin Donnelly fisted the winning goal sparking jubilant scenes as Fermanagh fans and players rejoiced on the pitch afterwards.

“It was the best feeling I’ve ever had after any football match,” said Corrigan.

“It was almost surreal. When the final whistle went I looked up at the scoreboard and had to pinch myself – it was a really special feeling and it’s something that all the lads will remember.”

He has been around too long to allow himself to get carried away. He rates Donegal as “the best team in Ulster” and is well aware of their devastating form this season.

“They’re blown everyone else in Ulster out of the water so far and they’ve been good value for their wins,” he said.

“They’re playing an exiting brand of football and we know that we’ll have a lot of work to do to nullify their dangermen on Sunday.

“I’m looking forward to it, it’s where you want to be as an inter-county footballer, you put in all the work and you trek up the road going to training and there are times when you think ‘Is this worth it at all?’ and then, after the Monaghan game, you think ‘definitely, this is worth it’.

“We’re within toughing distance and we know we have one big 70 minutes in us – hopefully that’ll be enough.”

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