By Niall Gartland
NO matter how the day pans out, Sunday is a special occasion for Cavan club Killygarry.
Not only are they appearing in their first senior championship final in 52 years, their u-17 team are playing in the equivalent final beforehand against Ramor.
Of course, how they’d love to get their hands on some silverware, but it’s already been a memorable campaign for Jody Devine’s senior team, who are set to duke it out with Gowna for the Oliver Plunkett trophy.
They’ve played some swashbuckling football throughout the campaign (they have some ace forwards in their ranks including Martin Reilly and Cavan u-20 star Darragh Lovett, both at the opposite ends of the spectrum experience-wise), but they’ve also shown serious resilience, winning both their quarter-final and semi-final clashes by a single point.
Former Meath football Jody Devine, who is in his first season in charge, knew there was serious potential in the team.
“I wouldn’t have taken the job unless I knew they were going to be competitive. If you look back on last year, Killygarry lost three championship games by a point, and they were missing Martin Reilly with injury.
“He’s back, and we have a few minor lads coming through, and it seems to be making a difference as we’re now losing those close-fought matches.”
The Cavan senior championship is a competitive beast, and seven different clubs have come up trumps in the last 10 years. It’s 20 years since Gowna’s last title, but Killygarry have never won the tournament. Devine is hoping that changes this Sunday.
“There’s six or seven teams in Cavan who would fancy their chances at the start of the year, there’s very little between most of the teams and it’s very competitive. On the day you need a bit of luck and we had the rub of the green in our knock-out games this year. We’ve had a good campaign,we beat Gowna and Ballinagh in our first group stage matches and that set us up well.”
Their opponents are slight favourites based on their achievements last year, but it’s still a very tough one to call. Like Killygarry, there’s some tremendous young players coming through at Gowna.
“They’re a very good side with a very strong panel. No difference to ourselves, they’ve been very successful at underage level in the last few years and they’ve a very strong core of good young footballers. We’re under no illusions about the task that’s ahead of us – it could come down to a bit of luck.”