By Kieran Lynch
LAST year was an unforgettable one for Donaghmoyne, as they claimed a Monaghan Intermediate League and Championship double, as well as their u-19s winning the championship.
However, now comes the challenge of competing at senior level, something which Donaghmoyne have struggled with in the past, and David Lennon, who manages the team with Derek Walsh and Noel Marron, spoke to Gaelic Life about the importance of the club putting an end to their ‘yo-yo’ status.
“We’re up in senior now, and I suppose the last few times Donaghmoyne have been in senior, they have come straight back down,” he said.
“Our goals totally change this year; it’s not about winning anything, it’s about surviving the tough tasks ahead of us. If you can stay up for one year, you might stay up for two, and then hopefully we can establish ourselves, because we have a very young crop of players. That’s our goal, there’s no secret about it.
“Winning is a great feeling and a great habit. Last year we were only beaten once in the whole season, other than Ulster (a quarter-final loss against Steelstown), and our u-19s weren’t beaten all season, but we know it’s not going to be like that this year.
“We got a great start last week, beating Ballybay; that was a massive two points for us, everything is going good, but in the flip of a coin everything could go poorly – and we’ll have to learn how to deal with that.”
The trio came in at the beginning of last season with the goal not only of putting out a winning team, but of changing the structures within the club, in the hope of turning Donaghmoyne into a team which can compete at the top table.
“We took the team on, probably because there was very little structure in place, within the club,” Lennon said.
“I was involved with juvenile teams over the last eight years in the club and seeing what was going on, I probably wasn’t happy with it. Myself and Derek decided to take this on and we got Noel Marron, a former county player, involved, and the three of us set up a three-year project to try and get a wee bit more of a structure in place, and to try and get them get them more disciplined.
“Last year, we didn’t expect to come in and win one thing, never mind a double and an U-19 Championship, so we had a terrific season.”
As for how they changed the structure? Lennon says the key lies with having continuity and a pathway for the club’s younger players right through to the senior team.
“Myself, Derek and Noel took over all of the teams; we took the seniors, the reserves and the u-19s,” Lennon explained.
“They’re all training together, because we’re trying to set the agenda for what way we want to play football, and everybody is on the one wavelength.
“Our u-19 win last year was probably the best win out of the three of them. We played a very good Latton team and beat them unexpectedly. Three of the u-19s played in the championship final, and from last year’s team there were four or five of those players starting for us last week.
“So, all the time we’re getting these boys in and getting them ready for what’s ahead of them.
“ It’s about doing the simple things right and letting them know what it’s going to be like to play senior football.”