Intermediate Football Championship
Drumlane v Belturbet
Saturday, Kingspan Breffni, 7pm
DRUMLANE boss Fintan Reilly is delighted with how his side have responded after being relegated to Division Three.
Last year’s Cavan Junior Champions have overcome that setback to reach Saturday’s Intermediate semi-final against an in-form Belturbet team, which is considerably better than they expected to do in the championship.
Their manager Fintan Reilly admits their main priority was avoiding relegation back to the Junior ranks, so it’s fair to say that they’re in bonus territory at the moment.
They qualified for the semi-finals by virtue of a 0-10 to 0-8 victory over Arva, which was a significant win for the club given that they have a number of inexperienced players in their team at the moment.
“It was a 50/50 game really, we were leading the whole way through but to be fair Arva had a couple of bad injuries to contend with.
“We dug deep when we had to. The league didn’t finish the way we wanted so our main aim in the championship was survival. We took every game as it’s come and it’s been really good.
“We have nearly a new team than last year, we finished the quarter-final with about five 18-year-olds on the pitch which is a big plus. We’d be very happy with where we are at the moment.”
The impact of young players like Josh Marsden and Mark Maguire has been a big help considering a number of more experienced players are injured or have gone travelling.
Their main contributor on the scoreboard by a distance, however, has been Ryan Connolly, but their manager says they aren’t overly reliant on the sharp-shooter.
“Ryan’s excellent at the frees and he’s playing well at the moment, but he’d be the first to say himself that he isn’t usually the one getting fouled for those frees. He’s a big player for us but no different from the rest of them in that sense. He’s still nailing the frees at the moment which is a big thing for us.”
They’re up against it this weekend against a Belturbet side who have possibly been the form team of this year’s championship, finishing top of the group stages. Still though, Drumlane have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“Belturbet are a seasoned team with seven or eight lads who played in a senior championship semi-final. We’re under no illusion as to what’s ahead of us.
“They have some very good footballers but we’re happy to be where we are. After the league, we didn’t know how the players would react but they’ve responded very well.
“I always knew the talent was there and that if we clicked we could give anyone a game.”