Pete McGrath has Fermanagh daring to dream, says Dom Corrigan

Fear of losing has been replaced by air of expectation in Fermanagh, and Dom Corrigan says it makes a refreshing change.

Pete McGrath has Fermanagh daring to dream, says Dom Corrigan

Just one ugly, scruffy win has got the county believing again and, more importantly, got the players buying into the positive philosophy of their two-time All-Ireland winning manager, Pete McGrath, ahead of tomorrow’s Ulster SFC semi-final with Monaghan.

“That Down swagger that Pete has brought in has been good for the players,” reckons Corrigan, a former selector during the John Maughan era.

“If we hadn’t got over the Antrim hurdle, I suppose some of that would have gone out the window because it was an absolutely massive win.

“We hadn’t won an Ulster championship match in five years — and if we had failed to take the opportunity to beat Antrim for the second year running, it would have set Fermanagh football back 10 or 20 years.

“It was an awful match and you could see how much pressure the players were under. They were afraid of losing, but Pete’s confidence has certainly rubbed off on the players.

“We dare to dream.”

Corrigan’s sons, Ruairi and Tomas, have been two big reasons for Fermanagh’s decent form this year.

While Ruairi is almost certainly ruled out of tomorrow’s game in Kingspan Breffni Park with a hamstring injury, they have captain Eoin Donnelly back from injury to strengthen midfield.

Despite the blow of losing injured full-back Drew Wylie, Colin Walshe returns for Monaghan who are chasing a third Ulster final appearance in a row.

It’s in stark contrast to Fermanagh, who’ve only ever played in three Ulster finals, the last of them in 2008 when managed by current Monaghan boss, Malachy O’Rourke.

Corrigan played in the 1982 Ulster final defeat by Armagh and while the role of plucky underdog has suited Fermanagh well over the years, he doesn’t think they will be flying under the radar for this one.

“There is no way Malachy will underestimate Fermanagh or take them for granted. He’d have too much respect for the players for that.”

Having managed Clontibret to a Monaghan SFC title last year, Corrigan has a good read on the opposition. He says: “You have to be realistic.”

“We are coming up against a seasoned team that is playing with great maturity and now has a winning mentality ingrained in them.

“I know a lot of the Monaghan players well and they won’t take Fermanagh lightly either.

“So, while the underdogs tag might suit us on some occasions, it won’t make any difference this time.

“Monaghan will be expecting a big challenge and for our players, the shackles are off.

“Beating Antrim has released the pressure and hopefully they can go out and perform, because it’s a performance we need.

“If we get a win, that’d be brilliant, but to show that we can go out and compete with a top team would be massive for this young team and for Fermanagh football.”

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