Rory Gallagher brought an end to his two year reign as Fermanagh manager on Monday when he confirmed that he would be stepping down from the position.

An Ulster final appearance in 2018 was the highlight of Gallagher’s time as manager of his native county while he also led the side to promotion that year and they went on to push hard for promotion to Division One this year.

The former Donegal manager admitted that he thoroughly enjoyed his time in charge but he always made no secret of the fact that when he took the job that he viewed it as a short term appointment and he was true to his word.

“I really enjoyed my time with the county.

“From the start I didn’t see it as a long time project for me, I wanted to get in and work with the players and blast it out for a couple of years and we did that,” he said.

He does though feel that there is plenty of potential coming through in the county at present although he believes that it is a long term project to get the likes of the St Michael’s and the current Fermanagh U20 players through into the senior set up.

“”It is great to see the U20s having gone well and obviously the MacRory Cup winning team. There is a number of good young players there who probably need someone now to channel three to four years into them and get them involved now with conditioning.

“I know a number of them are still at school like young Glynn, Darragh McBrien and Josh Largo Elis and for their age they are extremely talented. You also obviously have Brandon Horan and Conor Love.

“Eoin Beacom had a good campaign with the U20s as did Eoin Shields, they are players who are going to need nurturing and ultimately it needs somebody who can give that three or four years to them.

“You would like to think that Fermanagh would push on. We know that the playing numbers are always going to be small but you have to make the most of them.”

Looking back at his term, Gallagher commented: “The first year was a monumental effort, 2017 didn’t go the way the boys had wanted in league or championship so we came in and we put a huge effort in and it was great .

“We got players back, Pat Cadden came back in, Eamon Maguire, Ryan McCluskey came back for another year and we got a good bit out of Seamie Quigley as well which helped and everybody played their part in a good year,” he said.

Fermanagh progressed to an Ulster final in that first year and Gallagher stresses that the biggest regret was that they did not perform on the day against Donegal.

“It is not the not winning it, the big regret is that we didn’t perform. Donegal today are better than they were then and if we had performed to the levels that we performed against Armagh and Monaghan; but the occasion got to us and once they got the goals the game was over.

“That was a huge disappointment,” he added.

It would have been easy for the management and players to feel sorry for themselves after that but Gallagher was delighted with the way they responded at the start of this season.

“It was a great testament of the tightness and togetherness of the whole squad that we rebounded and had a very successful national league this year,” he said.

Indeed, many times after a successful year, Fermanagh teams have failed to back it up the next year and that was something that the management were aware of going into this season.

“That was a big thing that we said that when you look back over the last 15 or 20 years that generally after a good year, Fermanagh had a very poor year. We had a good pre-season though, the boys looked after themselves and they gave us a great run in the league.

“There was the highs of Kildare, Donegal and Clare but it was tinged with real sadness that we didn’t get to Division One. That was disappointing because to get Division One football for these players would have been massive,” he explained.

The season then came to an end with championship defeats to Donegal and Monaghan although Gallagher was pleased with the performance levels in those games.

“I think if you look at our performance levels, we did an awful lot right in both games.

“The Monaghan game we missed a lot of chances and even the Donegal game while I don’t think we were as dominant as we were against Monaghan we should have brought that game into the last five minutes or so. That’s the way it goes, we died with our boots on both days.

“I’m delighted with the effort that I got from the players over the two years, they were great to work with and I wish them well moving forward,” he said.

He also spoke highly of his backroom team and praised the County Board.

“I want to thank the backroom team, Leon played a big role over the years, Ronnie and Shane were massive and in particular Ricey who I believe brought an awful lot to the table.

“Also I would like to thank the County Board, Greg, Tom and Sean and everybody else were very supportive throughout which was great.”