Derrygonnelly want league glory



Sunday, Brewster Park, 2pm

DERRYGONNELLY won’t be turning their noses up at the chance of winning a league title, according to their experienced midfielder Ryan Jones.

The Harps have already achieved their main aim for the season, winning their fifth championship on the trot with last week’s hard-fought victory over Roslea, but Jones say hoping to keep the show in the road in Sunday’s Division One final against Ederney.

Not only is it ideal preparation for their Ulster Championship opener against the Antrim Champions (either Lamh Dearg or Cargin) later in the month, but it’s an opportunity to move on after last year’s debacle where last year’s league final against Ederney ended up shelved.

Jones said: “For one reason or another it just didn’t happen but we didn’t lose much sleep over it either.

“The championship’s the main one but now that the league title is on offer we’re going to go after it as well.

“We want to win as much as we can and it’ll keep us going ahead of the Ulster Club campaign.”

Derrygonnelly got back to business after overcoming Roslea in the final, following it up with a one-sided league semi-final victory over Enniskillen Gaels at the weekend.

The Gaels had an excellent league campaign, but the Harps reminded them who’s boss, so to speak.

“We’re a pretty focused group and there’s a lot of experience in the squad. Boys turned their attention to the league semi-final, Enniskillen have been going well throughout the league this year and it was a local derby with us and them so it was good to get the win.”

Club football in Fermanagh is especially parochial, so Derrygonnelly have played Ederney countless times down the years. The Harps were much too strong in last year’s championship final, and Jones says their two league meetings this year won’t count for anything on Sunday as they aim to make it third time lucky (the teams played out a lowscoring draw in the first-half of the season while Ederney won by
five points in their second meeting).

“It’ll be a competitive game, ourselves and Ederney know each other inside out. We played each other twice in the league already but both teams were missing a lot of players so I wouldn’t read too much into those results. It’s going to be a good battle.”

Much has been written about Derrygonnelly’s older players in the last few weeks – lads like Kevin Cassidy who seem to have drunk from the fountain of youth – but the five in-arow shouldn’t be the end of an era either with talented young players coming through the ranks.

Jones said: “There is a lot of good players coming through the ranks at underage level. We got to the U17 final final and the likes of Conor Byrne, Ronan Mc- Govern and Aaron Jones are ready to step up to senior football next year.

“We’ve a very ambitious squad, we don’t want to slack off and training this week, we’ll be going at it hard – when we have a good team we just want to keep it going.”

Stating the obvious, but this is Derrygonnelly’s fifth Ulster Senior Club Championship campaign on the trot.

They lost out in a semi-final replay against Cavan Gaels two years ago, and that’s as far as they’ve gone in Ulster.

Last season they bowed out against Scotstown by 2-17 to 0-11, so they’ll hoping to fare a little better this year.

“It’s obviously the best teams in each county so it’ll never be easy no matter who you get. We’ve feel we’ve challenged well but not to the extent we’d like to. The first thing you have to do is win your own championship and we’ve done that, so hopefully we can give Ulster a rattle.”

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