here had been something niggling at Dom Corrigan for the last number of years.

He has enjoyed success with St Michael’s in the MacRory Cup down through the years but there was something missing and it has gnawed at him in recent times.

On Saturday though that missing piece was found. St Michael’s and Dom had their Holy Grail, the Hogan Cup was on it’s way to Fermanagh.

“We had the MacRorys but everybody knew there was something missing and I certainly would have been aware of it myself but didn’t say it. I felt that wee bit of pressure and I just wanted to clinch the deal this time. To have finally nailed it, it’s brilliant. To be the top school in the country and to call ourselves All Ireland champions, and to do it and to get rave reviews for the way that we did, it’s just fantastic,” he said.

And he was quick to add that this one is for everybody who has donned the blue and claret jersey or been involved with the school down through the years.

“That victory on Saturday was for anybody who ever put on a MacRory Cup jersey, past and present.

“It means everything to St Michael’s because it is something we have chased after since the school was opened in 1957 and the old school prior to that. The first MacRory in ‘73 with Gabriel Brock and Mick Brewster, they set the ball rolling, Peter McGinnity in ‘92 was unlucky to lose to St Brendan’s and then I had my own stories in the Hogan as well,” he stated.

When the final whistle was blown it was therefore understandable the sheer joy and emotion involved.

“There was certainly a sense of serious satisfaction and there was a massive relief that we had finally reached the promised land and what made it extra special was the nature of the game.It was nip and tuck, a gripping finale and what better way to finish it up than that. There was huge emotion at the finish and absolute joy that St Michael’s are at the very top table,” said Dom.

Although he never publicly stated it, you got the sense from early in this campaign that Corrigan really felt he has a side capable of going all the way in the competition.

“I felt this team had real talent. You look for a team with scoring forwards, you look for a strong midfield and good quality defenders and goalkeeping options and the thing about it was I felt there was depth and quality in the squad. But the most important thing of all is that I felt there was an attitude and a serious appetite for hard work and a lot of leaders which was epitomised by our captain Brandon. It was the work rate, the resilience and the character of the team that really shone through in Croke Park and we knew that once we got that right the quality was going to shine then,” he said.

St Michael’s forwards have taken the limelight through the season but Corrigan felt his defence as superb on Saturday as they kept tabs on a slick Naas forward line.

“I thought our defence really stood up. They were up against a serious forward line who had scored 20 points the week before against Dingle and we kept them to 1-11, that was a massive achievement. It was a great team performance all round,” he added.

They did though have to withstand a late Naas surge as they cut a four point deficit back to the minimum.

“We knew Naas were going to come at us, they had finished every game this year very strong but I had a felling from about ten or 15 minutes to go that if we stopped another goal then we were going to get across the line and that’s the way it transpired,” he said.

Key to that was goalkeeper Sean McNally who made a fine stop late on from Tony O’Connor.

“The great thing about Sean was that he made a mistake for their goal but he put it behind him and went on to make a brilliant performance and his save was match saving.”

There was also words for Rian McGovern who missed the game after being taken to hospital but someone who the rest of the team were determined to win it for.

“Rian was an integral part of the team and I got an awful shock when I got a call from his mother as I was about to board the bus for Dublin on Friday that Rian was admitted to hospital. Rian had a roll to play in Croke Park but unfortunately that was not to be but the boys decided that they would work harder and give that bit extra to win the cup for Rian and the way the boys pushed themselves shows the respect they have for Rian,” said Corrigan.

And the former Fermanagh boss believes that the win is a massive boost for football in the county.

“For Fermanagh GAA going forward it is massive and for players coming through it shows it can be done. The future is very bright because this success will inspire different generations,” he said.