Fermanagh hurling minor manager Cyril Dunne hailed his side’s efforts as they came out on top against Leitrim in the Celtic Challenge Corn Tom Hogan Cup.

Fermanagh made a strong start to last Saturday’s game in Ballyshannon and went into half-time without conceding giving them the platform to secure a compelling win.

“Over the moon,” manager Dunne said on Saturday’s outing.

“Couldn’t be prouder of them. The work rate, the skill levels, the effort they put in, it was tremendous.

"It was a perfect performance from them. We worked on it, it’s not something that just came out of the blue, we have been talking to them the last couple of weeks to up the effort, up the work rate and everything would look after itself.

"They have done everything we asked and more and it all came off.”

Leitrim defeated Fermanagh by five points when the teams met in the group, but the return of James Tierney and Dan O’Connor made the difference, after missing the game in April due to county football commitments, as they scored 1-15 between them.

“They did make a big difference, but the rest of the lads stood up to the plate as well,” said Dunne.

“The two lads in midfield, Ben Palmer and Joe McGoldrick were very good. Joe McGoldrick got the ‘Best and Fairest Award’, it’s usually the referee who chooses but I think because the Ulster Council President was there, he picked it.

"It was probably more so for his work rate, he’s a fantastic runner, he never stops running, never stops working, always gets in on attacks. James Tierney could have got it because he scored 1-07 from play. Dan O’Connor played very well but it was good to see Joe get it for his work rate.”

Speaking on the season as a whole, Dunne said: “It came to a good end. There are issues with the timing of the competitions, I think. At the start of the year, you are finding it hard to get fields to train on, hard to get pitches to play games on. Later on in the year, the fields will be in great nick and nobody playing on them.

"There were fixture clashes with football and hurling. If Croke Park and the Ulster Council would just talk to each other when they are putting the fixtures out and see that hurling and the football aren’t clashing in the same county, have the football on a Saturday, hurling on a Sunday, or vice versa, then lads in both squads don’t have to choose.

"We shouldn’t be making them choose one above the other. I have to say fair play, generally, any feedback that goes in with the powers that be, they do try and generally fix those issues but I’m hoping next year there won’t be as many fixture clashes.”

It was a golden weekend for hurling in the county, after the minors secured their first-ever Celtic Challenge success, the senior side went on to win the Lory Meagher at Croke Park on Sunday, giving Saturday’s youngsters something they can greatly aspire to as Joe Baldwin’s side look to break even further ground in the coming years, with 14 players from the last Celtic Challenge final now apart of Baldwin's unit.

“A lot of us were down at the match at Croke Park. I’d have a close relationship with some of the management like Ciaran Breslin and Ollie McShea, I would have played with them back in the 90s, they’re always asking who are the next crop of boys coming through,” continued Dunne.

“Joe Baldwin, fair play to him, the night of the meet and greet, he broke away from his own squad and came up and spoke to our boys, gave them a couple of bits to work on things they need to get to before they play in a final.

"It was great that Joe took the time to speak to our lads, he didn’t have to do it but that’s just the measure of the man. I know he’s not a Fermanagh as per se but he’s an honouree Fermanagh man.”