GAA Football

Erne Gaels just 60 minutes away from first Senior Championship final in seven years

28 May 2022; Ultan Kelm of Fermanagh in action against Daniel Reynolds of Longford during the Tailteann Cup Round 1 match between Longford and Fermanagh at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park in Longford. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile.
Shaun Casey

ERNE Gaels are just sixty minutes away from reaching their first Senior Championship final in seven years and only their second since 1981, which was the last time they captured the New York Cup.

Belleek boss Seamus Ryder will be pacing the sideline this weekend alongside his former mentor and ex-Fermanagh boss Dominic Corrigan, who leads the Kinawley camp, in what has been a fairly frequent occurrence this season.

Sunday’s semi-final showdown will be a repeat of the league final clash which Erne Gaels just edged by one point to pick up their first Division One trophy in 26 years.

“Dom’s a former teacher of me and Ciaran (Smith) so there’s a lot of respect there for him, we know his body of work and what he does for teams,” said Ryder. “He had a bit of a health scare there too so it’s good to see him back on the sideline again.

“We wouldn’t really say much on the sideline, we’d chat after the game, but Dom is the same as he always is, and he’d come up and chat to you after. It’s good to pick his brains sometimes after games.

“We know Kinawley are going to be a massive challenge. We played them in the league final, and we won by a point, but they were missing a few and that was a massive battle that day.

“Both teams hadn’t won something in so long it was kind of treated like a championship game. There’d be no secrets now between the two teams, we’ve played them three times this year and we’ve seen a few of each other’s championship games so there’ll be no secrets.

“I watched their game against Enniskillen in their last outing, they won by two points, but they probably should have won by more, they missed a few goal chances and stuff.

“They’re formidable opponents and whoever comes out of it on Sunday is going to be in a good place going into the championship final and really fancy their chances.

“There’ll be five or six key match ups like any game and if you can get your key men playing well, you’ll give yourself a chance.”

Ryder’s troops saw off Roslea in an unexpectedly one-sided quarter final clash, so confidence will be high within the squad. The Belleek men will be minus the injured Shane Rooney (hamstring) and Gareth Daly (knee) but have a full hand to pick from outside of that duo.

“It was a lot easier than expected, I think it was because of the performance. 1 to 15 we really just showed up and we executed out plan to a tee and got the scores early and got into a lead. We were then able to sit and defend well and hit them on the break and we just punished them every time we went forward.

“We finished really well against Derrygonnelly, even though we lost the game we probably took a bit of confidence from that. We had a couple of men back from injury against Roslea and obviously it was a home quarter final, so we just really wanted to go out and get a good start and it kind of snowballed from there.”

GAA Football