ARMAGH JUNIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
DERRYNOOSE V COLLEGELAND
(Sunday, Athletic Grounds, 5pm)
THE simple fact is that Derrynoose haven’t won a men’s football championship in Conor McNally’s lifetime.
The Google employee doesn’t have to go on to his company’s search engine to figure that out.
Silverware hasn’t been an everpresent with the Naomh Mochua club. A first Junior title arrived in 1963 when Forkhill were defeated, with a second added a decade later when they got the better of Tullysaran after a replay.
Then came their biggest achievement of all, an Intermediate title in 1985 when Mattie Lennon and co.
defeated Dromintee 2-9 to 0-11.
Since then? Nothing, but McNally and his teammates are keen to put that right as they prepare to face Collegeland in Sunday’s final in Armagh.
“1985 was the last championship that was won in Derrynoose,” said McNally.
“We’re very looking forward to having the chance of ending the wait.
“In the vast majority of cases championship finals don’t come around too often for too many men.
“When they do, it’s always exciting to be a part of the whole thing.”
Championships may not have come around, but plenty of the squad have big-game experience. McNally himself participated in the 2016 Sigerson final where his DCU side lost out to UCD while he has also been part of Kieran McGeeney’s Armagh panel.
A number of other players have also represented their county in the hurling arena such as Paddy Kelly, Stephen Keenan, Damien McGrane, Peter McKearney and football captain Aaron Fox. As a result, McNally is confident that Brian Hamilton’s side will not be overawed by the big occasion.
“There are a lot of boys who have been very fortunate to play in big games, and that’s one of the big benefits of being a dual club,” he said.
“At hurling and football, adult and underage, a lot of players have been involved in big games. It is a totally different experience when you’re in a championship final with your club but it’s good to have that in the memory bank.”
McNally also spoke highly of this weekend’s opponents Collegeland and knows that a top performance is required if they are to experience the joys of championship success.
“Forkhill probably went in as favourites against us in the semi-final but Collegeland beat them in the group stages. They’ve built on that and have obviously have a lot of confidence from their run.”