Intermediate Champions – 6/10/2002 Drumgoon 0-08 Denn 0-6
DRUMGOON’S rise to prominence in club football over the last five years from underage upwards has continued unabated. On Sunday last at Breffni Park they captured their first-ever Cavan Intermediate football championship title at the expense of an experienced Denn side. The club in the process also completed a remarkable two year period as twelve months ago they lifted the junior crown.
If experience was a key factor in the outcome then Denn had the edge but Drumgoon with a mixture of youth and experience, were intent on achieving victory. Although it was always close, due to the tension of the occasion and many missed opportunities by the respective forwards, there were many stoppages in a game in which Drumgoon fully merited their victory. They led at half-time by 0-6 to 0-3, when the margin should have been greater, and while Denn produced a spirited second-half, including a near miss for goal by John Smith, it would have been a travesty had Drumgoon lost.
Denn who have already won this title on two occasions, 1988 and 1990, might have felt they had the edge, given their experience at this level. However they met a Drumgoon side full of enthusiasm and no little skill, who used the vast expanses of the Breffni Park pitch to try and outpace their opponents, which they did on occasions, but then struggled to make it count on the scoreboard. If Drumgoon were to prosper the defence needed to mark tightly, ensure that Edward Jackson and Jim McNally made an impact at midfield and leave the rest to forwards of the calibre of Philip McDermott, Patrick and Paul McCabe, Ian O’Reilly, Peter Hand and Martin Clerkin. Denn looked to forwards of the calibre of Hubert Smith, Kenneth Rothwell, Fergal Brady, Paraic McGovern, Colin Kiernan, a late replacement for full-forward Jerome Kiernan and John Smith to help lay the foundations for victory but got nothing soft from the Drumgoon rearguard.
The game as a whole was entertaining but in a final of such importance mistakes were made and despite the ideal conditions the flow of the game was not helped by moves breaking down through short passing or the tenacious tackling of the defenders. Early nerves prevented a number of scores from both sides. John Smith and Peter Hand were off target and it was Denn who drew first blood from a Fergal Brady free after six minutes. Denn might have gained a major breakthrough one minute later when Kenneth Rothwell’s shot for goal produced a fine save from goalkeeper Seamus Morris.
Drumgoon eventually found the target in the eighth minute through Philip McDermott. After Seamus Morris had saved in the Drumgoon goal from Martin Cahill. Denn went in front again from Paraic McGovern in the eleventh minute. It was at this stage that Drumgoon began to make a serious impact on the game. Paul McCabe scored from a brilliant effort out on the wing and Peter Hand gave them the lead for the first time from a free after fifteen minutes. Referee Martin Brady, in an effort to nip any trouble in the bud, issued yellow cards to Edward Jackson, Martin Cahill and Philip McDermott.
Drumgoon’s grip on the game tightened in the closing stages of the first-half with excellent points from man-of-the-match Keith Fannin, Paddy McCabe and Philip McDermott for a 0-6 to 0-2 lead with seven minutes of the half remaining. Keith Fannin covered every inch of the park in the quest for success and was always in the thick of the action. Keith is also a talented soccer player, and was a member of the county under-21 side this season. Keith can tackle, defend and attack. His inch perfect passes were one of the highlights of the game. Denn were becoming a little frustrated at this stage and Pat Baker was the recipient of a yellow card. The mentors including team coach Brendan Neligan took strong action at this stage to try and reverse the trend of the game by introducing Philip Galligan and Thomas Farrelly. It had the effect of boosting the side’s efforts and they had the final score of the half from a John Smith free in injury time to cut Drumgoon’s lead to three points, 0-6 to 0-3. Although Denn produced a strong finish to the half, Drumgoon deserved their three point lead.
Big Guns introduced
There was some tough talking in the Denn dressing room at half-time and the situation called for some bold initiatives. It led to the introduction of two of the club’s most experienced players, 36 year old Thomas Smith and 27 year old Jerome Kiernan. Drumgoon however had the better of the early second-half exchanges and Philip McDermott increased the lead with a point. Tommy Smith’s opening contribution was a point in the tenth minute. Keith Fannin restored Drumgoon’s four point advantage in the fourteenth minute. Denn, somewhat belatedly, began to make some kind of impression on the game as Jerome Kiernan reduced the lead. Denn however were making little use of their scoring opportunities and were fortunate when Drumgoon had the opportunity of putting the game out of reach when a good shot from Ian Reilly was saved.
Another goal opportunity for Denn, the best of the game, came in injury time when a shot from John Smith hit an upright and came back to Jerome Kiernan whose shot was deflected for a 45. Hubert Smith at last found the target with a point. There was still time for Denn to save the game and after Drumgoon had shot two quick wides, the last chance fell to Tommy Smith from a 45 which landed on the edge of the square but was cleared to end the action and an exciting finish.
It was another remarkable success for the Drumgoon club and manager Paddy Bates. They move up to senior ranks next year when they face teams like Gowna, Cavan Gaels, Kingscourt etc. There was little argument about the man of the match award which went to Drumgoon’s left-half back Keith Fannin. Club chairman Jimmy Reilly said it is the first time the club will be involved at senior championship level. “We were mainly a junior club for nearly ninety years with the breakthrough coming last year. We will be well fit to take our place among the senior clubs. We played in Division 1 this season and won a number of games without a number of our players who were on duty with the Cavan senior and U-21 county teams.”. Team captain Edward Jackson said “It is a fantastic achievement for a club with such a small panel of players and to win back to back championship finals. The players put their hearts and souls into the preparations and I have never been involved with such a dedicated panel which was so focused on going all the way. “I am very proud of the way the players rose to the occasion and with the support of the team management
Few, if any clubs make the graduation from Junior to Senior in only one season. Their meteoric rise to prominence in club football over the last five years in Cavan club football from underage upwards has continued unabated. The club in the process also completed a remarkable two year period as twelve months ago they lifted the junior crown defeating a strong Kildallan side in the final. They then went on to become the first club from Cavan to capture an All Ireland adult title, when they won the All Ireland Junior Club Final defeating Belmullet from Co. Mayo in the final.
It was another remarkable success for the Drumgoon club and manager Paddy Bates. Paddy is a tremendous man manager and is able to get the best out of his players on all occasions. The great work at under-age levels in recent times has really started to pay dividends in a big way. The many long years of heartbreak and disappointment that the Drumgoon club had to endure are now forgotten as this group of players look to pastures new to conquer in the coming years. They are on a roll at present, and will be hard to stop. In a complete team performance it is difficult to pick out any players in particular. The entire defence, five of whom are under 21, were tremendous. There were great displays also from Edward Jackson, Colm Hannon, Keith Fannin, Philip Mc Dermott and Paul Crosson. Drumgoon – Seamus Morris; Paul Crosson, Colm Hannon, Paul McEnroe; Adrian Crosson, Michael Hannon, Keith Fannin (0 – 2); Edward Jackson, Jim McNally; Philip McDermott (0 – 3), Martin Clerkin, Patrick McCabe (0 – 1); Ian O’Reilly, Paul McCabe (0 – 1), Peter Hand (0 – 1).
Subs used – Bryan Bates for Peter Hand, Barry Crosson for Martin Clerkin (Inj) Denn – Brian Boylan; Anthony McPhillips, Donnacha Brady, Oliver Brady; Pat Baker, David McKiernan, Martin Cahill; Pascal Galligan, Ronan Kiernan; Paraic McGovern (0-1), Hubert Smith (0-1), Fergal Brady (0-1); Kenneth Rothwell, Colin Kiernan, John Smith (0-1). Subs. – Philip Galligan for Pat Baker, Thomas Farrelly for Kenneth Rothwell, Thomas Smith for Colin Kiernan, Jerome Kiernan for Fergal Brady,
Referee Martin Brady, Ballinagh
After Match comments
Another milestone for Drumgoon After the match, Drumgoon Club Chairman Jimmy Reilly said it is the first time the club will be involved at senior championship level. “We were mainly a junior club for nearly ninety years with the breakthrough coming last year. We will be well fit to take our place among the senior clubs. We played in Division 1 of the ACFL this season and won a number of games without a number of our leading players who were on duty with the Cavan senior and U-21 county teams.” Successful team captain Edward Jackson said “It is a fantastic achievement for a club with such a small panel of players and to win back to back championship finals. “The players put their hearts and souls into the preparations and I have never been involved with such a dedicated panel which was so focused on going all the way. “I am very proud of the way the players rose to the occasion and with the support of the team management and the fans, it was a great achievement. I am a very proud Drumgoon man”. The celebrations in Drumgoon and the surrounding areas went long into the night on Sunday, and during the week, as the team and supporters come to terms with another great football achievement, and with the promise of more to come in the years ahead. The team and their supporters are a credit to the club and their area, and they have revitalised football in the area, and their are a model for many clubs in the county not alone by their achievement but the loyalty and pride the players have in representing their club and their parish. Who is to say that in the next few years that senior honours won’t be coming their way. All supporters of Cavan club football wish them every success in the future, and no doubt, some of their young and talented players will hopefully play a full part in the coming years for the county in the quest to get Breffni football back amongst the honours on the inter-county scene. For the present well-done to all concerned concerned and to their loyal and dedicated management team under the astute control of Paddy Bates.