By Shaun Casey
CIARAN Brady was a member of the last Gowna team to win back-to-back county titles but last Sunday was an extra special day for the Brady clan, as the ex-Cavan footballer watched three of his sons help Gowna retain their title.
Cormac, Fionan and Cillian were all part of the panel and Brady, a former chairman of the club, outlined the link between his team and the one now.
“It’s brilliant seeing the lads coming along and they’re creating their own memories and their own history,” said Brady, an Ulster champion with Cavan in 1997.
“It’s brilliant because there’s an awful lot of people that have been involved in the coaching side of things over the last 10 or 15 years.
“When our group won our last championship in 2002, there was a lot of barren years, it was 20 years until we won the championship back last year but, in that time, there was a phenomenal about of work put in by a lot of people in coaching the young lads.
“We’re seeing the benefits of that now. It helps that there’s a lot of sons of lads that won championships. I think last year there was a stat that there was 17 of the panel that were sons of players that received recognition at half time of the 25-year anniversary of winning in 1997.
“I think it has gone up by another couple so you’re probably looking at the guts of 20 lads that are on the panel that are sons of players that won senior championships in the ’90s.
“Our era won our first championship in ’88 and it took us until ’94 to back it up, we were up against a very strong Kingscourt team at that time but then from ’94 to 2002 we won six championships in that period.
“We appeared in nine out of ten finals, but this team has already surpassed us by winning back-to-back championships at the first attempt, so the future is bright.”
The future is certainly bright as 10 of the 20 players that featured last Sunday are still u-21.
“There was eight of the starting team that were u-21 and then two more that came on so ten of the players that were involved were 21 or younger,” Brady continued.
“It’s a very young team and they’re full of running, full of enthusiasm and basically at that age, playing with the confidence that they have, there’s no fear.”
The next step is Ulster now, where Gowna will take on Donegal champions Naomh Chonaill.
“There was a long gap last year after we won until the first round of Ulster against Enniskillen Gaels,” recalled Brady.
“In extra time we were two or three points up and they came back to level it and we then lost out on penalties. It was very disappointing but after 20 years in the doldrums, we were just happy to have won the championship.
“This year, the objective is to try and make a mark in Ulster and approach it and give it our very best shot.”