“This is a team that just refuses to die.”

It was indeed, as a proud Fermanagh boss Joe Baldwin who saluted the mother of all comebacks by his young charges against a star-studded Longford side boosted by wristy ash artists with syrupy brogues from the west and south of the country.

“It is no wonder that I had a stroke earlier on in the year and I think I am just after having a heart attack,” he quipped in the beaming sunshine of Pearse Park, Longford.

“All credit to the boys and while we may be small in stature, we never gave up.

“Longford had a massive start and we did not play all that well in the first half and they are a very good side and they have some very skilful hurlers but the guts and the courage of this team and the skill and guile we showed was amazing and we almost won the game.”

And he saluted Longford’s Cian D’Arcy who was his side’s biggest threat.

D’Arcy who only joined the Longford squad at the beginning of the Lory Meagher Cup had good support from class acts like David Buckley, Karl Murray and Johnny Casey.

“Cian is a super hurler and Longford have a lot of quality, but we are just glad to get to the final and all our focus will now be on that final in a fortnight.

“We have qualified from this group and have only lost one match and that is a good record,” said Joe, who is in his sixth year with Fermanagh, having guided them to a Lory Meagher Cup title in 2021.

“We have a lot of experience, and it shows the strength in depth in the squad when we did not have John Duffy but all three subs John Paul McGarry, Danny Teague and Cahir MacManus all made a big difference and that is very encouraging. We did not have Sean McHendry either today." 

Looking ahead to the final at GAA Headquarters, Baldwin continued: "And you don’t get to Croke Park too often.

“I have mixed memories having lost an All-Ireland camogie final there in 2012 and we won the Lory Meagher in 2021 which was great.

“So when you get there it is important to win and we will get back to work on Sunday evening.”

So how did he feel when Fermanagh were eight points at the break?

“There was a strong breeze against us in the first half, so our task was to get the scoring forwards on the ball and we did that and came back.

“We have a lot to do but we will do it in the next few weeks.

“There are only four national titles that can be won in hurling, and we are the smallest county of them all.

“The players we have playing are 100 per cent legal and it is very much a proud Fermanagh team. It is my sixth year in charge, and this is our sixth final in six years so I will take that, but we have not won anything yet.”

Not yet, but if they keep showing that indomitable spirit then Lory Meagher will be heading back to the lovely land of wood and water in a fortnight.