The Club Players Competition final is important to us says Ederney boss

By Niall Gartland

THE Club Players’ Competition will conclude this Friday evening in Fermanagh, and Ederney boss Chris Kelly knows from experience the importance of picking up a win in their play-off final against Derrygonnelly.

The winners will carry three points into the league proper, while the losers will be awarded two points. It mightn’t seem like much of a difference, but these two teams met in last year’s Club Players’ Competition final as well with Derrygonnelly prevailing on penalties, and Kelly is acutely aware that it had important ramifications for his side later on in the season.

Kelly, a native of Eskra in Tyrone, is in his second year as manager but he’s been on board as coach for a number of years now, including in the 2020 season when Ederney won a long-awaited Senior Championship title.

Speaking to us ahead of Friday’s play-off showdown against Derrygonnelly, he said: “To be honest we went into the Club Players’ league not knowing exactly where we stood, numbers were light enough at the start of the year and we had to be strategic about who we played our challenge games against.

“To a certain extent we still don’t know where we are but it’s pleasing to see that some of the things that we’ve worked on are coming together. It’d be lovely to secure three points for the start of the league.

“We’ve spoken about how we missed out in a place in last year’s Division One final by a point. We’d lost earlier in the year to Derrygonnelly in the play-off game on penalties and didn’t think much of it at the time,but had we got that extra point we would’ve ended up in the league final.”

In Kelly’s first season at the helm, Ederney fared rather well even though they’ve been pegged as a team in transition. They had a great run in the league and came close to knocking out Erne Gaels in the last eight of the championship.

He said: “The good thing about last year was that we’d really good numbers, we trained every night with 30 plus lads so we were able to work on things.

“We qualified out of our group in the championship and Erne Gaels beat us by a point in the quarters. We finished the game with 13 men so we knew we weren’t far away, and that’s given the boys renewed optimism that they’re very much contenders in Fermanagh.”

Ederney have three men on county duty, Declan McCusker, Sean Cassidy and Conor McGee. McGee recently ruptured his cruciate and it’s a devastating setback for a player who had become an integral part of the Fermanagh defence.

“He was playing, he had been on the Fermanagh panel for a few years and had really cemented his place.

“He’s a big loss for ourselves and Fermanagh and also for Conor himself, he was outstanding for us last year.”

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW