By Michael McMullan
DERRYNOOSE will bounce back after Friday’s Armagh Junior Camogie final defeat insists dual player Aoibhínn McKenna.
A late Culloville goal dashed the club’s hope of a junior camogie, ladies and men’s football treble.
A squad that contains over 20 dual players are back on the horse this Saturday when they travel to Derry to take on Ballerin in the Ulster Junior Football Championship.
“It was a hard hitting game and they got a goal at the end,” said McKenna, the club’s football captain, of Friday’s defeat. “Look, goals win matches unfortunately, they got them and we didn’t.”
It’s been an eventful few weeks for Derrynoose, a club that operates all four codes, and McKenna was full of praise for how the community has back the teams.
“It’s phenomenal,” she said. “The support we have had. All the men footballers were out supporting us and past players.
“We had a big crowd at their game and on Friday night you could hear the roar, it was fantastic.
“Our u-12.5 team played at half time in our match and were in our team photo afterwards, they joined it,” McKenna added, enthusiastic of the club’s future.
“I gave them the cup to hold and that is a nice memory for them, so they can go and win it when they are seniors.”
It was 20 years since Derrynoose ladies last won the junior football title, with McKenna and goalkeeper Claire Keenan the only two survivors. It was also the first time they field a team for ten years.
With dwindling numbers, they folded and joined with Middletown and Keady to form the amalgamation side Craobh Ciaran.
There was a school of thought of moving out on their own again – as Derrynoose – in 2021, but many of their underage players were too young to make the step.
“We had enough players this year to go on our own,” McKenna said.
“We have a panel of 29, there are girls coming back that wanted to be part of it and we wanted our own club back.
“We knew we could go and win something. We have the talent; the girls have been coached so well all the way up, coached proper football.”
Coaches Anthony Farrell and Barry McGurgan were involved at underage level and have been joined this season by Tracey Hourican.
An impressive league season came up short, with St Paul’s beating them at a time when the minor players were in the middle of a hectic spell balancing two grades.
McKenna is full of praise for how the football and camogie management teams balanced the training during the hectic championship campaign.
One week it was two camogie sessions and one football, which was reversed ahead of a football fixture.
“The last time we won the cup it was 2002, I was only 15,” McKenna said. “We have a really young side….many of the rest weren’t even born.”
The long-term future is bright and with the club’s facilities developing year on year, it’s exciting times in Derrynoose.
For now, there are two Ulster campaigns to look forward to with the girls hoping to put Friday’s camogie defeat to the back of their mind.
“We want to go out to win, this football team has the mentality to win,” McKenna added.
“These girls have won Féiles, they have won league and championships in their own age groups.
“They knew how to win and how to dust off (defeat). We’ll get back training this week to prepare ourselves. The girls will be so up for the weekend, we want to try and show ourselves in Ulster and get our name out there.”