By Shaun Casey
DERRYNOOSE have made a brilliant start to the 2022 season and remain unbeaten after eight games in the Junior League. Manager Paul Doyle has been pleased with his side’s early progress, despite missing a number of players through injury.
“We drew our first game of the season in Newtown,” said Doyle. “We’re exactly halfway through the league at the minute because there’s three games left in this section before the league splits into Junior A and Junior B.
“Newtown are sitting behind us now in the league and that point in Newtown, at the time people were maybe raising their eyebrows, but Newtown are going really, really well themselves.
“They beat Middletown at the weekend and they’re proving that they are one of the better teams in Junior so us drawing with them, it wasn’t a shock really.”
The likes of Tom Lennon, Conor McNally, Paddy Quinn, Peter McKearney and Stevie Keenan all started the 2019 Junior Championship final loss to Collegeland but remain sidelined through injury at the minute.
The younger players are stepping up however and Doyle, who won a Junior Championship with Keady in 2018, is hoping his side can complete their promotion push and takes inspiration from the teams that have made the jump in recent years.
“To me, what you want to do is challenge yourself at next level up, you want to go to intermediate and see how things go.
“Because of the age profile of the panel we have there, you’re looking at it going, what does the future hold for these boys?
“Why could Derrynoose not do what the likes of Annaghmore have done there in previous years and start jumping divisions and you need a good platform in the league to get yourself set up. In 2018 we (Keady) won the Junior Championship and the league and moved up and finished second in Division 2B (the following year).
“There’s not a major difference in Armagh club football between the top four or five teams in junior and the teams that are in Division 2B.
“You’re looking at Belleek at top of the league (2B), Cross IIs and even Forkhill without their county men, you’re looking at those teams going up and you’re saying why can’t the top teams in junior go up to intermediate and hold their own and then build on that?”
Derrynoose are a dual club with both football and hurling teams consisting of a lot of the same players, but the communication between the management teams halts any potential roadblocks.
“It needs managed and the key to that is communication between the hurling manager and myself. We meet on a regular basis, it’s great because we actually do it by Zoom and we plan ahead with what’s happening.
“Sometimes training wise, less is more.
“If the boys play a full game on the Tuesday night with the hurlers and we have something on the Wednesday, they don’t train.
“If the communication is there it’s brilliant and I have to say the club, it’s a lot easier in Derrynoose because it’s one club.”