By Niall Gartland
DRUMLANE boss Martin Dunne knows they will have to be at the absolute peak of their powers if they’re to upset the odds against Arva in Saturday’s Junior Championship final showdown.
The former Cavan Gaels star is in his first year of management and has done remarkably well to take Drumlane to the final, but they know only too well what lays ahead of them.
They shipped a heavy enough beating against Arva in their first group stage match, but in fairness they didn’t let it damage morale and they’re one step away from championship glory. I
Dunne said: “We know we’re going to be up against it, but our goal at the start of the season was to win a championship.
“It’s a highly fancied Arva team, they beat us by 10 points in our first championship outing and were deserving winners on the night, we didn’t perform.
“It’ll take a massive performance from ourselves but finals are there for winning and we’re going to try to perform to our maximum ability and see where it takes us.”
Drumlane won the Junior Championship as recently as 2018, but Arva likewise have recent experience of coming up trumps on championship final day (they won the Intermediate final in 2018) and Dunne points out that a lot of Drumlane’s current crop of players are new to the scene.
“This is a very young Drumlane team. We’ve a couple of older players but the bulk of the group are aged 24 and under. We’ve one lad playing who did his Leaving Cert this year and two others who did it last year.
“It wasn’t that long ago Arva were playing senior championship football, but between emigration and injuries they fell down the ranks. They’ve those lads back and got promoted to Division One again, and they’d be the first to accept that with their full pick probably shouldn’t be in the Junior Championship.”
So Drumlane have it all to do, but they can take credit from the way they saw out their semi-final clash against a dogged Drumalee team, despite finishing the game with 14 men.
“We knew we wouldn’t get anything easy against Drumlaee, they’re a very well organised team who haven’t conceded much throughout the championship, so we knew it’d be a dogfight. For a young team we showed great character and composure to hold onto the ball in injury time.”