Dom Corrigan says that St Michael’s will have to take their performance to the next level if they are to see off St Colman’s Claremorris and book their place in the Hogan Cup final.

A superb display saw the Enniskillen seat of learning get their hands on the MacRory Cup ten days ago as they blew away the challenge of Omagh CBS in the final in Armagh but Corrigan feels that they will need to raise their game even further in Longford on Saturday afternoon if they are to dispose of the Connacht side.

“There is no question, the level goes up when you go onto the All Ireland stage and we have to show that we are capable of going up that step. I think these boys have shown all year that when different challenges have been put to them they have responded well and I’m looking a big performance from them on Saturday and they realise it will take a big performance,” he said.

While the display against Omagh was high quality, Corrigan is adamant that there is still plenty of room for improvement for his side.

“I suppose when you win a game it often glosses over things that were not so good. For example there was a ten minute period when we were in control of the game before half time that we failed to register a score and that can come back to haunt you.

“Omagh breached us for two goals and that is an area we have looked at and we had a number of unforced errors in the game as well so that is something we will have to improve on.

“The vast majority of the game we played very well and any day you notch up 16 scores certainly reflects that but we have looked at it and the players are mature enough to realise that there is more in them.

“We have learnt a few lessons from the Omagh game and we hope to put them into practice against Claremorris,” he added.

The Hogan semi-final was originally scheduled for Wednesday before being put back three days to Saturday. And Corrigan admits he is happy to have had the extra time.

“The extra few days have been a help to us. Obviously the lads were on a massive high and there was a great buzz around the school after the performance the last day and it was inevitable that it was going to take a bit of time to come down from that high.

“However the lads are firmly focused now on the next step and that has been the mantra since the start of the campaign. We look to the next game and it just happens now that the next step is the All Ireland stage and we look forward to that,” said Dom.

The St Michael’s manager though knows that his side face a tough test against St Colman’s, the Mayo side having beaten St Gerald’s Castlebar in the Connacht final, although he feels that pre-season games against a number of southern sides including a couple from Connacht will stand to his side.

“The big plus in our regard is that we have played four or five matches against southern teams including Castlebar, a wonderful St Attracta’s team from Sligo and also St Pat’s Navan. Southern opposition is a bit different, they have a different style of football to the northern colleges but we are well used to it.

“We know that St Colman’s will bring massive aggression, massive physicality and there is great pace in their team as well.

“We expect them to bring a lot of quality to it, they won a very competitive Connacht title and they will be coming in fancying their chances so I’m delighted that we have tested ourselves out against Western opposition in our pre-season games and they are going to be a massive help to us,” he stated.

With the MacRory final having been live on television St Colman’s will have plenty of information at hand on St Michael’s but with the Connacht Championship not as high profile, information is not so readily available about Claremorris.

Corrigan though says that his main focus as always will be on his own side.

“The way I operate is that I focus on ourselves and that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend. It is about us and the level of performance that we bring to it that is important. You look at the opposition but you don’t get tied up about them. We will use the information we have about St Colman’s but as I say, like every match we have had this year, it is about our level of performance and if we bring the level of performance that we are capable of producing and step it up another notch from the MacRory final then we are in with a great chance of overcoming this hurdle,” he commented.

St Michael’s will be expecting a big battle against a talented St Colman’s outfit.

Half backs Ethan Henry and Liam Og Horkan have had impressive campaigns along with midfielder Cillian Golding. And in attack Enda Hessian, James Jennings and Conor McGuinness pose a big threat.

However, this is a St Michael’s side that is also brimming with talent. Josh Largo Elis and Luke Flanagan are key men at the back while captain Brandon Horan and Joe McDade are a formidable midfield partnership. And then further up the pitch Darragh McBrien, Micheál Glynn and Conor Love will give serious problems to any defence.

Corrigan believes that the midfield battle is going to be crucial on Saturday.

“Like the MacRory final, if we can get a platform in the middle third, we have that forward threat that any team will find difficult to cope with. Getting that platform in the middle third is something we have targeted all year, we got it against Omagh and if we can get that dominance in that area on Saturday it will be crucial. Also, our bench has been very strong all year and we will need that again on Saturday.”

So, what would it mean to the school to make it through to the Hogan Cup Final?

“Getting back into Croke Park would be massive. It would be the ambition of every college setting out and it would mean everything to this of group players and to everybody associated with the school and the county. We will be doing everything in our power to get there.”