By Niall Gartland
ST Patrick’s Donagh secured promotion to Division Two with victory over Coa at the weekend, but there’s another prize on offer as they refocus for Sunday’s league final against Derrylin.
Paul Hasson’s side held their nerve in the final league fixture to make doubly sure of promotion to the top flight after suffering relegation back in 2019.
The former Derry ladies boss is delighted that they’ve accomplished one of their main goals for the season, but they didn’t get it all their own way in a 2-14 to 2-8 victory over Coa.
“Finishing in the top two and achieving promotion was one of the targets we set ourselves at the start of the season. We’ve respected every competition we’ve entered this year, even the club players competition at the start of the season as it gave us a good platform going forward”, said Hasson.
“It’s a bit of a cliché but Coa are better than their league standing suggests and that was evident from the way they played in the Junior Championship final recently. They move the ball very quickly from defence and they’re a very hard team to beat. They’re not a bad side at all.”
Their league final opponents Derrylin are having a season to remember as they finished top of the table in Division Two, and also claimed victory in the postponed 2020 Junior Championship final with a replay victory over Coa.
Hasson commented: “They’re flying. They seemed to rest a lot of players for their Teemore match at the weekend which is understandable.
“They’re giving their full focus to the league final and they’ve an intermediate championship to look forward to as well. We played them the other week and their quality shone through as they pulled away in the end. There’s not much between a lot of the sides in the division.”
This is Hasson’s first season in charge of St Pat’s, and he’s been delighted with the aptitude of the players, who have kept the show on the road even with key men out with injury.
“It’s a very good squad. They’re fully focused on winning games and we’ve rotated the squad well throughout the campaign. It’s the depth of our squad that got us over the line especially as we’ve had long-term injuries to key players.
“We’ve lost Philip Mulligan in the first league match with a cruciate injury. We’ve lost one of our half forwards with another long term injury, and recently Paul O’Reilly suffered a shoulder injury. The injuries are mounting up so thankfully the rest of the squad have stepped up to the mark when needed.”