Fermanagh U20 manager Ollie Fay believes that this group of players has the potential to become Ulster champions in the future.

Fermanagh were knocked out by Derry in the Ulster semi-final in Omagh last Friday night, three points separating the sides in the finish, but Fay retains great belief in the squad.

“We will just take it on the chin and reflect on it but there is a great group of lads there and there is Ulster titles within that group if they knuckle down and perform the way they can perform. Hopefully they will now push on into senior and maybe get an opportunity again to get into an Ulster final and please God win it,” he said.

Fermanagh had recorded a first win in the competition in ten years when they had beaten Donegal the previous week and Fay feels that the run will give the players the confidence to push on.

“It will give them confidence and it will give them more belief. Yes, they are disappointed now but when they sit back in a couple of weeks they will realise they won a first round in Ulster and they ran the Ulster champions close and hopefully they will drive on from there.”

Last Friday night’s tie was a closely contested one and one that Fay believes got away from his side.

“We are disappointed because we felt we left that game behind us. I think we created an awful lot of chances and just at the end we were the width of the post away. That’s sport though, last week we wee up in the sky and this week we are rock bottom,” he said.

Fermanagh went in a point down at the break which was maybe harsh after having enjoyed the better things over the 30 minutes but the Erne boss thought his side were well placed at the interval.

“We were confident in the dressing room, we felt we were controlling the first half but we weren’t putting it on the scoreboard. We spoke about tidying up our shooting and our passing but unfortunately it didn’t tidy up as much as we would have liked it to.

“I think also for the last ten minutes we again had complete control but Derry are a good team and we wish them the best of luck in the final.”

There was a disastrous start to the second period for Fermanagh as they conceded an early and point to slip five behind but Fay was confident that they would respond.

“We knew we wouldn’t throw in the towel regardless, we knew that the boys would keep going no matter to the bitter end and that’s what we did and it was just unfortunate at the end.”

To Derry’s credit though whenever Fermanagh appeared to be gaining the upperhand they were able to reply with a score and it kept them ahead until the finish.

“They were able to come back down the field and get a score and maybe it was a lack of composure after we got a score when we needed to back it up with another. They always responded when we scored and that’s why they are Ulster champions.

“Look, the boys are very disappointed. They worked hard and it was a good opportunity for us to get there but it just wasn’t to be,” he concluded.