GAA Football

Fermanagh's Ciaran Corrigan happy to make mark with winning score

Ciaran Corrigan (right) in action for Fermanagh against Antrim in this year's McKenna Cup.
Picture: Cliff Donaldson

ALTHOUGH he played at full-forward for Fermanagh, the mark on Ciaran Corrigan’s mind wasn’t on the pitch but the metaphorical one he’ll receive this week from his pupils.

A secondary school teacher at St Kevin’s College in Lisnaskea, he was happy to have turned jeers to cheers after scoring the winning point in a comeback victory over Roscommon.

“I saw some of the pupils after the match - I hit the crossbar last week [against Kildare] after rounding the ‘keeper so I was getting a bit of slagging in work, thankfully I’m going to school after a good result.”

Fermanagh manager Ryan McMenamin admitted he’d been ribbing Corrigan too, and shared his delight that he’d bounced back in style at Brewster Park:

“Ah, ‘Bam-Bam’ deserves it – he missed a bad chance last Sunday, I was slagging him, he hit the crossbar, he doesn’t like to be reminded about it… It shows you the character, he learnt from it, he came and scored the winner.

“He puts it in and he’s a fantastically smart footballer. He’s a modern footballer, he can play anywhere – he can play at 7, 10, he can play at 14. We’re glad to have him, he just wants to learn all the time.”

Maguiresbridge man Corrigan felt that Fermanagh had quickly learned the lessons of a pretty poor first half, which ended with the hosts trailing Roscommon by nine points to three, turning the game completely around to win 0-13 to 0-12:

“It was very doom and gloom at half-time, six points down, but we showed massive character to get back into the game. Whenever you win by a point like that, in those circumstances, we’re delighted – over the moon to get the first two points in the League.

“We were very disappointed in the first half, we felt we gave them too many frees, and we hadn’t taken our chances up front. Conditions in the first half were very hard too with the lashing rain. We kicked on in the second half and thankfully kept scoring and scoring and scoring, fought our way back in – and then got out on top.”

Corrigan had been a rare bright spot for Fermanagh before the break with his movement up front as the lone forward. It’s a testing role, but one he relishes:

“It’s tough inside, and every game now corner backs are running forward, so you’re tracking them back and then running forward; it’s massively difficult, but you’ve got to enjoy it, got to take enjoyment out of getting back and making a block on your own ‘21’. Happy enough to get up and get a score too.”

In fact he got three, all from play, as did Fermanagh’s nominal full-forward, Conall Jones, in a tally of 0-10 from play for the Ernemen.

“That’s something we’ve been working on, all throughout the last few years we’ve always worked on our attacking play, but at times we’ve been our own worst enemy because we’ve kicked so many wides and dropped others short. We had chances in the first half and missed them so there’s plenty of room for improvement.”

The win maintained Fermanagh’s proud recent record in the League at Enniskillen, the result of collective effort on and off the pitch according to Corrigan:

“Every single game is massive in this division. I think we haven’t lost a League game in Brewster Park now in three years, we didn’t lose under Rory [Gallagher] the whole way through in the League. It’s important that we keep that going, you just need to get points in this division…

“We got momentum, the crowd got behind us, and everything picked up – but in the first half we were very disappointed, we didn’t bring any aggression or any real hunger. In the second half we did, we drove on, and it was a brilliant all-round team performance. The crowd brought us on too, and that helped.

“We have to let the crowd get into it too, in the first we didn’t – we didn’t give them anything to cheer about. In the second half when we did, we started bringing the hunger, we worked hard, the crowd fed off that and we fed off them.”

Fermanagh next head to Westmeath, another one of the six teams on two points after two rounds of Division Two. “The division is so, so competitive, look at how the results went over the weekend, Roscommon now bottom with one point. Thankfully I got the chance – Danny [Teague] played the free quickly, I was on, head down and nailed it.

“We want to get two points next weekend, keep driving on, but no one in the division can look too far head, everyone just has to look at the next game,” insists Corrigan.

Having said that, with Ulster rivals Cavan and Armagh still to come to Enniskillen, as well as current leaders Laois, he wants to keep on making home advantage count:

“We have to make sure we keep bringing it. We have a Championship match here too, against Down, so it’s really important that we make Brewster Park a fortress, which it is”.

Fermanagh’s remaining Division Two matches:

Sun February 9 (Mullingar, 2pm): Westmeath

Sat February 22 (Brewster Park, 7pm): Cavan

Sun March 1 (Brewster Park, 2pm): Armagh

Sun March 15 (Ennis, 2pm): Clare

Sun March 22 (Brewster Park, 2pm): Laois

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