Fermanagh manager Emmet Curry sung the praises of his players following their victory over Derry in Sunday’s replayed All Ireland Junior Championship final.
A side that failed to win a game in 2016 has improved and progressed throughout 2017 and they round off the season as both Ulster and All Ireland champions following Sunday’s win in Clones.
“To come back from never winning a game last year to winning an Ulster and All Ireland title in the one year, you have to say there is a bit of guts in that team. They are a great bunch of girls and I’m delighted.
“Last year when I took over we played Leitrim and we were beaten by 56 points. 
“Ann McGrath got me to come back this year and I got Mickey Cadden on board along with Josie Boyle and after that we built a team,” he added.
And build a team they did. 
Curry has infused a lethal blend of youth and experience and they have all played their part as the Erne girls powered their way to victory.
“If you look at the full forward line, we had two 16 year olds playing at corner forward and then the experienced Sharon Murphy alongside them who was excellent at full forward. Sharon’s a big help to those young girls,” he said.
Behind them Lisa Maguire worked tirelessly and Curry could not speak highly enough of the Kinawley player’s commitment.
“For me, she has been the best player for us this year. She drives from the far side of Dublin every night and she never complains. It is a fierce commitment and I couldn’t speak highly enough of her. She is a managers dream,” he added.
Further back, Shauna Hamilton was imperious at centre half back and the manager could not be happier to see the experienced players finally get the reward that they deserve.
“Shauna Hamilton is one of the best centre half backs around. This is her third All Ireland final and I’m delighted for her and the likes of Sharon Murphy and Marita McDonald. 
“Those girls have given ten years service or more and they have given a serious commitment again this year,” he said.
And he feels that this victory will only be benefit for the younger players in the squad.
“Eimear Smyth and Blathin Bogue won an Ulster U16 Development title last year, they won an Ulster this year and now they have also won an All Ireland. 
“They have the guts of ten or 15 years ahead of them in the game and I would hope this will have done them the world of good,” he stated.
On the game itself, Curry admits that following the escape act in Croke Park when Fermanagh came from nine points down to force a replay, they put detailed plans together to deal with Derry at the second time of asking.
“ In Croke Park they came out and out-foxed us. We didn’t know what to do with them that day. 
“This time we sat down and went through every player. There was a game plan and we stood by it.
“We changed the team around a bit and they were more focussed today and I felt we were better,” he commented.
Fermanagh struggled to shake off a determined and dogged Derry side but a fortunate second goal by Joanne Doonan midway through the second half when the sides were level was the key score and Curry admits it lifted his side.
“That put our tails up for a while and we added a few more points. We got five up and that meant that they had to score two goals and two goals is hard to get. 
“It was a real battle but I thought our backline was very good today.”
With the season now brought to a successful conclusion, Curry stresses that the management team will now take a well deserved break before considering their next move.
“It has been a long year for the players and the management so we’ll take a break and then we’ll sit down in a couple of weeks and see where we are. 
“We are just going to enjoy this for now,” said the Derrylin man.