St. Michael’s face a huge test this Saturday in Augher (2.30pm) when they take on MacRory Cup favourites St. Patrick’s Maghera in the quarter-final of the competition but coach Dom Corrigan states that they are where they wanted to be at the start of the campaign.
St. Michael’s produced a strong second half performance in seeing off St. Patrick’s Cavan in the play-offs and Corrigan says that they are now looking forward to the challenge that Saturday will present.
“We are against the MacRory and Hogan Cup favourites but it is where we wanted to be from the start of the year, that was our focus, to get to the quarter-finals.
“We were delighted with our win against Cavan, it was a massive game for us and it took a big second half performance to get us across the line, but now we have to step it up again. It is a huge challenge but this is where all good footballers want to be,” said Corrigan.
Maghera have an abundance of quality in their ranks and Corrigan knows that they cannot afford to give them the same sort of time and space that they afforded to Cavan in the first half of that play-off game.
“Our plan is to keep it as tight as we can for as long as we can,” he said.
“We know the quality that is in this Maghera side, they have been scoring very freely and are the top scorers in the competition, so we will have to contain, especially in that opening period of the game and then impose our own game on them. 
“We need every player stepping up to the plate, MacRory Cup football is always tough, tense, aggressive affairs and this game is going to be no different. It is going to be a game where massive performances are going to be expected from every player on the pitch.
“We didn’t come out of the blocks at all as we had hoped against Cavan, we were very laboured and pedestrian in our play. We’ve looked at that though and we’ve identified areas where we need to improve,” he added.
And the St. Michael’s coach accepts that they will have to be much more clinical with their chances in Augher on Saturday.
“I’m expecting a much better return from our forward line this coming Saturday, especially in that opening period of the game. 
“We only got our first score after 15 minutes the last day, we really need to be getting the scoreboard moving much earlier against Maghera.
“We need to be clinical up front as we won’t be getting as many chances against Maghera as we got against Cavan so with the chances we get we need to nail them. We have the forwards though who are capable of doing that; the likes of McNally, Love, Reihill and the rest are all capable of notching up their scores,” he said.
The Derry outfit will be fancied to progress to the last four of the competition but Corrigan insists that all his side are focusing on is getting their own performance right and they will take it from there. 
“All the hype is on this Maghera team and rightly so, but we have worked hard since September and we have set goals and standards for ourselves and Saturday is no different. 
“We have targets set that we are going to strive for and our focus is on getting a performance out of everyone and if we do that then we are going to be in with a shout.
 “We will be going in there with all guns blazing to give it everything we can and we’ll see where that takes us,” he commented.