CAVAN INTERMEDIATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
LARAGH V BELTURBET
Sunday, Kingspan Breffni, 3.30pm
LARAGH boss Jody Devine won’t be shocked if Sunday’s Intermediate Championship final against Belturbet veers off in an entirely unexpected direction.
Anything can happen in the cauldron of a championship decider – Killinkere were made to fight for their Junior final win over Shannon Gaels at the weekend, while Castlerahan finally broke their duck in the most dramatic of circumstances in last year’s senior showdown against Crosserlough.
Laragh, who won their one and only Intermediate title back in 1994, don’t have much recent experience of playing in championship finals, but their manager Jody Devine played in many of Meath’s greatest days in the nineties and knows that anything can happen on Sunday.
“That’s the nature of the beast, finals are a funny thing. You need a bit of luck and it’s sometimes the fellas you don’t expect who get you over the line. Finals take on a life on their own but hopefully when the final whistle blows we’ll be on the right side of the result.”
Whatever happens, it can’t be much more dramatic than their semifinal win over Cuchulainn’s. The Stradone men made all the early running, but found themselves four points down during the second-half.
They didn’t give up the ghost and ended up winning a classic match by 2-17 to 2-16, outscoring their opponents by 1-3 to 0-1 on the homestretch.
Devine commented: “We played well in the first-half but our secondhalf performance wouldn’t be enough to win a championship.
“We lost our way for 15 minutes. We kept at it in fairness, and didn’t drop our heads after missing a couple of chances before getting the winning goal. We had a bit of luck but you sometimes you need
In theory, the result was revenge for Laragh’s defeat to Cuchulainn’s in last year’s semi-final, but their manager said that didn’t play into their thinking. They’ve come through six matches to reach the final, and after a slow start, seem to be coming to the boil at the right time “We wanted to get to a final so there wasn’t any extra motivation other than that,” said Devine.
“It’s been good, we had a bad start, we lost the first game and drew the second, since that they’ve knuckled down very well and put in a great effort and commitment.
“They’re getting their reward in them and hopefully there’ll be one big 60 minute performance that’ll get us back over the line”
Their opponents Belturbet have arguably been the form team in this year’s championship. They finished top of the group stages, scored five goals against Drumgoon in the quarters, and overcame a fancied Ballinagh in the semi-finals.
Devine commented: “They beat Ballinagh, a team who everyone had tipped at the start of the championship. Belturbet have been unbeaten and they’ve a great knack of scoring goals which is a
great sign of a team. We had some great battles with them last year and managed to beat them in the promotion play-offs to reach Division One.”