It was elation once again for Fermanagh’s hurling heroes as team captain Ryan Bogue made a magnificent emotional acceptance speech from the Hogan Stand in Croke Park last Sunday following the county's Lory Meagher Cup triumph.

This victory was even sweeter when you consider that Fermanagh and the other so-called weaker counties had to fight off a pretty determined bid from some of top brass in Croke Park to put them out of county hurling.

Bogue did not hold back in his anger at this ill-advised move as he saluted his comrades on a day of days.  

But, the Erne County stood firm and the threat was averted and now they are walking on sunshine.

And the most memorable scene of all was when Bogue invited his manager Joe Baldwin up to hold aloft the Lory Meagher trophy before the cheering fans.

“If I live to be 100, I will never have a gesture like that in my life,” said the Fermanagh manager.

For nobody put in more work for this crowning glory than the charismatic Baldwin.

“We had 30 seconds together with the cup in the dressing room as the end of a nine-month journey and that was some moment."

And not even a stroke could stop him from achieving his goal for his players.

“This is a dream come true, but this is about the players.

“Without them, we don’t need coaches or managers and without them, there are no stories to tell.

“These are the most dedicated players you could meet, and we have not been beaten in the championship.

“And it is all due to the players.”

The reward is a place back up in Nickey Rackard hurling where Fermanagh feel they truly belong.

“Sligo went from Lory Meagher to Christy Ring in a few seasons, so we have a pathway.

“And I said to the boys in there 'Do you know the next thing we are going to do and that is that we are going to win the Nickey Rackard Cup?'

“That is now the goal.”

Fermanagh were determined not to let Longford run into a 13-point lead like they did when the sides met in the final group game of the competition.

“I said if we don’t give them that, then we have a 13-point lead.

“That gelled with them, and we had a very good start.

“Of course, Longford were always going to come back but we had the bench again and JP McGarry hit a vital late point for us as well as giving us some extra physique.

“It was not one to 15 today it was one to 26 for us.”

But it was Fermanagh’s sheer scoring power up front that gave them a great platform for victory.

“I can’t wait to watch it again and we had scores out there that could only grace a field like Croke Park.”

He added: “We conceded a lot of frees but we did not want to concede too many goals and our disallowed goal was certainly not a square ball although referee James Judge had a good game.

"We got the goals at the right time too.”

But this was an emotional day for Baldwin.

“My whole goal was to get Ryan Bogue up the steps to get the cup and his gesture in inviting me up to hold the trophy was just magnificent.

“He did something that I could never do as a player as I would never be half the player of these boys.

“And I will be eternally grateful to Ryan Bogue.”