By Shaun Casey
DARREN Curran’s late goal secured Intermediate Championship success for Dungloe and saw them return to senior football after two years in the second tier.
After winning the 1986 Intermediate Championship, Dungloe played in the top grade right up to 2020 when they were demoted but are now back amongst the big boys.
“Saturday night was brilliant,” said manager Dessie Gallagher. “Everybody took their cars back to the town and we met at the top where the graveyard is, and we got a photograph with the last manager to win the championship (Liam O’Reilly).
“All the players were around his grave and his daughter works with us in the backroom team, so it was very good and very emotional. We came back down to the main street then and all the people of the town came out and we had a great time.”
Dungloe reached the intermediate showpiece last year but lost out to Cloughneely after a replay. So, they were determined to right those wrongs this season.
“Last year we were winning games for the first time in a few years in the championship because we were in the intermediate. These lads are young, it was our first year really at it.
“They were delighted and in the dressing room after we got beat that day, they said they’d be back again and that was what they did. They got ready for the championship, and they won all their championship games, so it’s great.
“Since we took over our target was to get back to the Senior Championship and in fairness to the young lads, they took the team down, that’s the way they saw it, so they wanted to go back up as quickly as they could.
“In fairness with the work that they have put in over these last two years, they deserve it because they were the best team in the championship this year.
“We were always in control of the game, but we weren’t getting the scores regularly. I think it was 0-7 to 0-4 until we got the goal and that’s only a kick of a ball, but we were always in control of the game.
“When we got the goal that was a big score, and we kicked a point after, and they knew at that stage that it was all over. They were trying to push hard and then we got the goal.”
It’s the Ulster Championship next for Dungloe, where they will face Antrim’s Dunloy or Glenravel, but Gallagher insists they’ll take a bit of downtime first.
“We have five weeks, we’ll give them a bit of time off now, but I know with this bunch, they’ll not take the time off, they’ll be back at it. They’ll be back to work on Wednesday and the next day they’ll probably be looking to go to the gym and go for a bit of kicking.
“When you are excited about football that’s what happens, they don’t want time off, but we’ll give them some down time and you have to enjoy the whole thing while you are there. You don’t get it too often.”