Dominic Corrigan: The man in charge of St Michael’s, Enniskillen football factory

October 22, 2016

Dominic Corrigan has been synonymous with Gaelic football at St Michael’s, Enniskillen for over 30 years. Colm Bradley speaks to the former Fermanagh manager about this year’s MacRory Cup campaign…

DOMINIC CORRIGAN has pretty much done it all at this stage.

As an inter-county manager at all levels and a club manager with a range of teams across the province, if his experience was measured in wealth he would be worth a pretty penny. If you were to ask where his heart lay in football terms, however, a strong argument could be made for the college on the hill where he has taught for over 30 years.

St Michael’s, Gaelic football and Corrigan have been constant bedfellows since the mid-1980s, when the Kinawley native first picked up the whistle as a PE teacher at the school and he has enjoyed success at all levels within colleges’ football over that time.

As always though, it is the development of the player that is central to Corrigan’s philosophy and it remains the same this season as the MacRory Cup squad get ready for another campaign: “What we want here at St Michael’s is to make the players better. We want them to leave here and be better,” he said.

“Some of them will go on and play inter-county football at senior level, while others won’t reach that level but, either way, we want the players to be better. Better for their clubs and, for some, better for the county as well.”

When asked what the commitment has been like from the present group of players, the former Fermanagh manager reacted with more than a hint of surprise in his voice: “Oh, the commitment is at a really high level, but it always is,” he said.

“If a player doesn’t have the required commitment, then he won’t enter the equation, it is as simple as that. So like every other year, we have a very committed group of players who are determined to do their best for St Michael’s.”

Ranking that group of players among the other teams in the competition is not an easy task, however, and while this year’s team certainly has a lot of experience, Corrigan says it is too early to assess just where they fit in the pecking order.

“MacRory football can be funny at times. There are years you can think that you have a very good side and you find out then that there might be three or four other teams who are cracking outfits so, suddenly, things can change,” he said.

“And then other years, you maybe think that the team isn’t as talented but, when you look around, the standard overall in the competition may not be as high as other years, so suddenly you are in with a real chance of going far.

Last year’s squad had a majority of year 13 students, so it follows that the class of 2016/17 will be a much older more experienced side, with the majority of those year 13 players from last year back for another crack.

Corrigan did, however, explain that he will be without a few who played last season and who would be eligible for this season, including Eoghan Curran, who has been hit with a cruciate injury that will keep him out of the picture.

St Michael’s do, however, have a number of stand-out performers, with Tiarnan Bogue primary among them. A colleges’ Allstar last year, Bogue is most comfortable at midfield, but can also play wing half-forward.

Michael Óg McGarrigle will captain the maroon-and-blue this year. The Erne Gaels club-man experienced a bad ankle break last season before the quarter-final and he has only just fully recovered in the past few months.

McGarrigle was part of the Erne Gaels team who reached the Fermanagh senior final this season and was a real handful any time he played, including in the final, where he gave the Derrygonnelly full-back line plenty of problems.

County final day may have been a disappointment for McGarrigle and his team-mates but, for Shane McGullion, it was a case of two in-a-row as he collected his second county senior medal with Derrygonnelly. McGullion is in his third year at MacRory level and can operate in both defence and attack and is a real plus for Corrigan as he plots his path towards the knock-out stages.

Another player to look out for is Tempo forward Lorcan McStravick. The lightning quick attacker has an eye for a goal and is a natural ball winner who St Michael’s will be looking to lead the inside line:  “We have a more experienced group this year and we would hope that last year will stand to them and, as always, we want to go as far in the competition as we can,” added Corrigan.

“We reached the quarter-final last season, which we felt was a good achievement and we will be looking to do better than that this season.”

St Michael’s are in Group C alongside St Patrick’s, Armagh, St Patrick’s, Maghera and St Mary’s CBS, Belfast, with their first fixture against St Pat’s, Armagh down for decision on Thursday, October 27.

Published in The Irish News 22/10/2016