By Shaun Casey
IN the space of seven days, Ballybay will commence battle with Monaghan kingpins Scotstown twice, with the two main senior trophies up for grabs. The Senior league final takes place in two weeks’ time, but first up the pair meet in the championship decider.
“I haven’t even thought about that yet, said Ballybay’s joint-manager Mark Doran, who insists his side’s sole focus is on this Sunday’s championship final.
“I think Scotstown are now in their 10th senior final in a row, they’re going for three in a row. Everybody in Ballybay is under no illusions of the size of the task ahead of us and the animal that’s ahead of us.
“But look, it’s a great opportunity to be in a final and we’re just asking them to give exactly what they give every other game. Every week we go out we ask them if they can give every single thing they have, there’s not a big lot more we can ask of them.
“It’s just on the day and Scotstown, they’re a great team, they have a great manager and when you look through some of their players, they probably have the best goalkeeper in Ulster or maybe Ireland at the minute (Rory Beggan).
“They’re littered with quality, Darren Hughes, Conor McCarthy, Shane Carey, Ryan O’Toole, Mick McCarville, it’s a good side they have. Scotstown may have aspirations of winning Ulster; they’ve been in a few Ulster finals. Ballybay will go out and give it their best shot and it’s a final and it’s a great opportunity and that’s all we can ask for.”
It won’t be the pair’s first clash in this year’s championship campaign as they also collided in the opening round of the group stages. Ballybay, playing on home turf, won by two points that day, but they’ll face a “different animal” this time around.
“I remember saying at the time, there’s one place and one place only to beat Scotstown and its knockout,” added Doran, who will return to the intercounty scene in 2023 as part of Colm Collins’ backroom team in Clare.
“If you look through the Scotstown team, they’d a lot of men missing that day.
“I think they’d five or six changes, slowly but surely, they’ve got those men back and I saw them two weeks ago against Inniskeen and it was a real composed, mature performance.
“Yes, it was good to get the win at the time but it’s a different animal we’re facing now, Scotstown, once they get to the semi-final and final, they are a different animal. They’re there and it’s on the day, it’s that 60 or 65 minutes.
“If Ballybay can come out and every player gives everything they have and if it’s not good enough, then we’ll hold our hands up and say the best team won.
“I would be more than delighted if I knew after the game that we had 18 or 19 players that gave every single thing they had, you can’t ask more than that and if we do that, I do believe we’ll not be too far away.”