Competition for places is motivating the Harps

Lee Jones says Derrygonnelly are as motivated as ever as they bid for their sixth title in-a-row

Fermanagh SFC Final

Derrygonnelly v Ederney

Sunday, Brewster Park, 6pm

THE five in-a-row is in the bag, there’s no Ulster Championship left to play for – so what exactly is motivating Derrygonnelly Harps?

They’re back in the Fermanagh Senior Championship final, to the shock of absolutely nobody, and one of their most established players, Lee Jones, says the competition for places is something that keeps everyone on their toes.

For instance, their best performer on the day in their semi-final victory over Kinawley was 18-year-old debutant Aaron Jones (no relation), and it’s ominous for the rest of the county that they’ve showed no let up whatsoever in their run to this weekend’s decider against Ederney.

On what exactly is propelling the Harps ever-forward, Jones said: “It’s all the youngsters coming through. They’re pushing everyone on, everyone wants to play for Derrygonnelly.

The overall motivation is to produce the performance that we’re capable of every day we go out, but it’s a lot to do with the younger lads driving the rest of us on.”

Derrygonnelly are a bit of a machine at this stage. They’ve won the last three Fermanagh SFC finals with plenty to spare, including a 2-16 to 0-10 victory over Ederney in 2018.

Some thought that last year’s Intermediate Champions Kinawley would at the very least make a game of it in their semi-final contest a fortnight ago, but they failed to score a single point in the second-half as they fell to a 2-7 to 1-2 defeat.

Jones said: We thought they might bring a bit more to the table but we were able to keep it very tight and it panned out mostly as we hoped it would. We were just happy to get the win, they’ve some of the best players in Fermanagh like the Corrigan brothers.”

Michael Cassidy’s Ederney are hoping to avenge a number of defeats to Derrygonnelly in the last few years. They were a distinct second-best in the 2018 decider, and they also lost last year’s league final against the Harps, but they’ve been going really well this season and were full value for their 2-16 to 3-7 victory over outsiders Teemore in the last four.

Not only do they have some top players in their ranks like Mark McCauley, Sean Cassidy and McCusker brothers Declan and Paul, but they’ve been playing with real organisation and passion.

They’ve never won a senior championship title in Fermanagh before, and Lee Jones is bracing himself for a fierce battle this weekend.

They’ve been very competitive for a number of years now. They always play with serious intensity and they’re a very courageous team with a very fast forward line. They’re not easy to play against and they’re very hungry for success.”

Teague has confidence that Maguiresbridge can do it


Fermanagh IFC Final

Maguiresbridge v

Enniskillen Gaels

Saturday, Brewster Park, 27pm

AT 24 years of age Maguiresbridge manager David Teague must surely be considered to be one of the youngest managers around in Ulster and more than likely Ireland.

The younger brother of Matthew (31) and Daniel Teague (27), David is the youngest of the family with sister Sarah (29) joining into a football mad house.

It was a phone call in late March with Covid high on the agenda and Maguiresbridge looking to still confirm a senior manager for the year ahead. David Teague was working from home as a Financial Crime Analyst for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) when he decided to give the management game a go.

An ex-Maguiresbridge footballer and a dab hand with the hurling as well for his beloved Lisbellaw and Fermanagh – Teague was a well known GAA star and even played his trade in Division 1 for the Maguiresbridge footballers before a heart condition forced him into early retirement from the game.

He stated: “It was never really something I thought much about to be honest. I really enjoyed playing the game. I am lucky enough to be able to say I played for Maguiresbridge footballers in Division 1, Lisbellaw in the Ulster Club and really enjoyed my time with the Fermanagh hurlers. When the phone call came to manage the Maguiresbridge footballers for the year ahead I just went for it, I was working at home, I really love football and what else would I be at.”

The laid back Teague admits that Saturday’s finalists in Enniskillen Gaels will not be easy, “It goes without saying that they will be strong favourites in the game. They are a division 1 side, they are laced with quality, the likes of Richard O’Callaghan, Johnny Cassidy, Callum Jones and Conor Love are players any manager in the county would love to have – we feel though that during a 60-minute game of football that absolutely anything is possible.”

Maguiresbridge come into the game with three excellent games under their belts, a 2-16 to 3-10 victory over St Patrick’s Donagh got them on their way, the 24th-minute sending off of Cameron McBrien certainly helped the Maguiresbridge cause.

The semi-final clash with Belcoo really was a tight encounter with a lively draw of 2-11 to 1-14 at Brewster Park Enniskillen. The replay of that game was played at a sun-drenched McManus Park, Kinawley and what a stunning game it was for the attendance that included plenty of the Enniskillen team and management watching on.

Belcoo were holding sway in the game and led by eight points with under 14 minutes to play, however goals from Daniel Teague, Matthew Teague and Ryan Hyde unbelievably gave Maguiresbridge a 3-11 to 3-8 victory in one of the most unlikely comebacks seen for many a year in Fermanagh club football.

By Niall Gartland 

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