St Michael’s manager Dom Corrigan will be hoping that it is third time lucky on Saturday when he takes his side to Croke Park to face Naas CBS in the final of this year’s Hogan Cup.

The school’s two previous final appearances in 2002 and 2012 ended in defeat but the search for the Holy Grail has continued and he is hoping that they can go on and lift that silverware at Headquarters on Saturday.

“This is one that the school has been craving after for a long number of years. This is our third final and we would dearly love to get across the line this time.

“It would mean absolutely everything. St Michael’s College is a very proud school and for us to comeback with the Hogan, it would certainly be the ultimate and we will be doing everything to try and nail that prize on Saturday,” he stated.

Corrigan was in charge of the side when they lost those two previous finals but he says that he will draw from those experiences.

“You are looking to learn all the time. Obviously, with schools football the team of players don’t get the opportunity again but for those involved with the management we will definitely have picked up a few things that we will be putting into use this time and hopefully that will serve the team well,” he said.

He knows though that the Enniskillen school are going to have to be at their very best against a strong and talented Naas side if they are to return to Fermanagh as All Ireland champions.

Indeed, the sides have already played each other this year in a challenge game.

“We played them in late January and we knew on that particular day that they would be there or thereabouts in the end and that is how it has turned out. They are a typical Kildare type side and they play that Kildare style of fast, open, expansive football so Croke Park will suit them. They have a couple of marquee forwards that have been serving them well and like ourselves they are there on merit. It will be whoever brings their A game to it on Saturday who will be going home with the big prize,” he commented.

Like Naas, the Croke Park pitch should also suit St Michael’s.

“I always felt that this team had good pace and mobility. There is good quality footballers and Croke Park is a fast playing surface with wide open spaces and I think these players will revel in that,” explained Dom.

And he stresses that the whole focus for his side will be on their performance and not the occasion.

“It’s all about the performance at this stage. The occasion is for our spectators and a bit like the Ulster final, the key was going out and performing and in fairness the boys did that. We just have to try and replicate that now and realise that we will need to take everything up a wee notch from our previous game. That has been our focus all season, look at the aspects of the previous game that were a wee bit off and look to get improvement in those. If we do that then we are in with a great chance,” he declared.

St Michael’s booked their place in the final with victory over St Colman’s Claremorris in Longford last Saturday and Corrigan admits that while they finished up six point victors, there are areas that they will need to do better in.

“After 15 minutes it looked as if this was going to be a very easy semi-final for us but credit Claremorris, they showed their mettle, they threw everything at us and caused us massive problems. There were aspects of that 10 or 15 minute period before half time that we can’t afford to repeat and we will be aiming to make sure that if we get a cushion ahead of Naas that we don’t fall into that trap of sitting back and letting them back at us. We need to be a wee bit more ruthless and play every minute and not just for periods of the game,” said Corrigan.

And Dom is expecting all sectors of his side to step it up on Saturday.

“Our defence are coming up against a very lively and sharp attack so they will have to be on top of their game. The middle third has to be really switched on at all times. Brandon and Joe have been doing really well but I would like a wee bit more support for them on break ball. Getting possession in the middle third is going to be crucial and if we can do that then we have the forwards who are clinical, free scoring and hard working and if they get ball then I feel we can do damage.”

He also believes that the impact of the bench will be vital.

“The bench has made massive contributions right throughout this year in bringing in energy and quality and it is going to be important on Saturday, especially in Croke Park were it is energy sapping and boys won’t be able to sustain the pace and level of work rate that is required for 60 minutes. The fresh legs that we will bring in will be crucial,” he added.

And Corrigan states that his players will relish the challenge that this Saturday brings.

“Nothing fazes this group. When the setbacks come they just roll up the sleeves and get on with it. They are nice and relaxed and are fully focused. They know that what has happened right up to now is not going to win them a Hogan Cup and they are going to be striving to produce their best performance of the season this coming Saturday,” he concluded.