Ciaran Corrigan was one of Fermanagh’s best players in their defeat to Donegal. The Maguiresbridge man kicked two points from play and was a real driving force for his team. His own performance was of scant consolation to Corrigan who was “bitterly disappointed” with the loss:

“There are small margins in games like that and we can look at a number of things over the course of the game.

“I think at 0-10 to 0-08 we were not able to get the scores we needed and then they got the cushion of three or four points that they needed and that was always going to make it very difficult. We put so much effort into our preparation and in to the game but it didn’t work out but that is football sometimes,” he explained.

After the game there was not only palpable disappointment among the Fermanagh management but also among supporters.

The game was in the balance midway through the second half against one of the top teams in the country and Corrigan feels the sense of frustration within the county is a sign that expectations have risen.

“I think it is testament to what we have done in the past 18 months. We have put ourselves in a position to be very competitive with the top teams. We didn’t win but as I said that can come down to fine margins, obviously you have to look at improving in those areas but there has been an awful lot of work done,” the Sigerson Cup winner said before paying tribute to the opposition:

“You have to give Donegal huge credit.

“They are a very good team and they have some great players all over the pitch. And the likes of Jamie Brennan, Murphy and McBrearty all were able to kick great scores that were very difficult to defend against.”

Fermanagh don’t have long to lick their wounds and less than 24 hours after that defeat they found out that their opponents in round one of the qualifiers were Monaghan, the toughest draw in the hat, and Corrigan admits that it was perhaps the jolt the team needed after their Ulster Championship loss.

“We were bitterly disappointed from the weekend. We had put so much effort into the game, so we were so disappointed with the end result.

“Any draw was going to be difficult and all the teams are in the same boat, but I think Monaghan were the toughest draw.

“They are the highest ranked team, a Division One team so it’s a massive challenge. But all we can do now is get back in the saddle and go at it.”

The Fermanagh forward also believes that after Monaghan were put to the sword by the Erne county last season that they will be chomping at the bit for revenge.

“I think for Monaghan they might see it as an opportunity for redemption. For us we have to just look at it on its merits and see it for the huge challenge that it is.

“We give Monaghan huge respect. They have been sitting in Division One for the last four or five years under Malachy. But in a way it is a good game to get in that we know that we have to be right and it means we can get right back at it in terms of our preparation knowing what lies ahead for us. We want to play the best teams,” Corrigan said.

And he is right to say that Fermanagh will have to get focused quickly on the task at hand but he believes that that this will be an easier task than last season when they had to rise themselves from the ashes of an Ulster final loss.

“I think last year was a little different because it was an Ulster final defeat we were trying to come back from and also the fact that we played so poorly in it.

“I think this situation is different because against Donegal this time we were not overly bad performance wise, there is a lot of things we can take from it so I think if we can bring the same type of performance against Monaghan on Sunday week then we won’t be too far away either.”

A win against Division One Monaghan would be a clear signal that this season is far from over for the Fermanagh footballers.