Derrygonnelly captain Ryan Jones feels that having got that first win in Ulster under their belts, they can now go out and play with a bit more freedom when they take on Cavan Gaels in the Ulster Club Senior Championship semi-final on Sunday in Clones.
After defeats in the last two years, the Harps had made no secret of their desire to make an impact on the provincial stage this year and they deservedly accounted for Armagh Harps in the quarter-finals at Brewster Park.
Cavan Gaels are likely to be another step up from that but Jones feels that they can take belief from that quarter-final victory.
“It is good to have that monkey off the back and it maybe gives us a bit of belief that we can go out and play more freely. We don’t have to worry about getting that first win in the Ulster Club, that’s now gone and I would be hoping that our lads can go out, play to the best of their ability and show what they can bring to the table on Sunday,” he said.
He is very aware though of the challenge that Cavan Gaels will pose and the midfielder believes that the Breffnimen will go into the game as favourites.
“I know that their manager said that both sides will fancy their chances but I would imagine that they will probably be the favourites. They have been racking up some big scores in their championship,” he commented.
And Jones was very impressed with what he saw from Cavan Gaels in their win over Lamh Dhearg in the last round.
“A lot of people build up the opposition but genuinely, Cavan Gaels are a very good side. 
“They have a lot of county players and a lot of lads who have been involved with various Cavan underage sides. 
“They have experience in the likes of Seanie Johnston, Michael Lyng and Martin Dunne but they also have a lot of quality young players coming through too. They have a perfect blend and we realise it is going to be a big task and another big step up for us,” he commented.
And that attacking threat of the likes of Johnston and Dunne is something that Derrygonnelly will have to nullify on Sunday.
“I think you have to limit the ball going in so we will have to try and put as much pressure on them out the pitch as we can,” said Ryan.
“In saying that, they seem to play with a lot of runners and the likes of Seanie Johnston aren’t afraid come out the pitch and create space for a half back or a midfielder to bomb ahead into so that is something we will have to be careful of,” he added.
Derrygonnelly are strong defensively and although they may well be missing county defender Tiarnan Daly who picked up a hamstring injury in the game against Armagh Harps and the suspended Dennis Greene, they will still be able to call on the likes of Michael Jones, Eamon McHugh and Garvan McGinley to keep the Gaels attack quiet.
And further forward they will look to Conall Jones and Paul Ward to get scores although Jones stresses that to compete at this level you need a good spread of scorers from throughout the pitch and both he and Garvan Jones will be expected to get their fair share from the middle of the park.
“Conall is playing very good football at the minute but Cavan Gaels were at our match and they will pinpoint him. We have others though who can get the scores. You have Wardy and Gary McKenna while Kevin Cassidy is playing very well. You also have the likes of Deccy Cassidy who always chips in with scores. 
“You can’t rely on two or three players to get the scores in Ulster Club football anyway, you need your midfielders and half backs also contributing on the scoreboard,” said the Derrygonnelly skipper.
Having made it to the semi-final, Jones is eager for their run to continue this Sunday in Clones.
“It is only normal that once you get by the first hurdle that you look to the next game and target winning it and that’s what we have been doing. We know it is going to be a challenge but it is one that we are looking forward to,” said Jones.
The Harps are now 60 minutes away from an Ulster final appearance and Jones admits that it would be a massive achievement for the club to go on and get through to the decider.
However, he is not about to let himself get carried away with the thought of playing in an Ulster final with his focus solely on this Sunday and getting a performance against a talented Cavan Gaels side.
“I think for any club within Fermanagh to get to an Ulster final is a big thing and it is not something that happens too often. Enniskillen Gaels were the last team to do it and that was a very, very strong Gaels team but we know it is a massive opportunity.
Our focus though is just on Cavan Gaels and getting a big performance over the 60 minutes. We can’t be thinking about getting to an Ulster final, we just have to concentrate on the game,” he stated.