IT won’t be immediately obvious looking at the Division Three table, but Maghera MacFinns have turned a corner of sorts in the last few months.
They’re still dead bottom and haven’t won a single game, but they’re no longer on the receiving end of ungodly, merciless tankings subsequent to the nadir of a 10-28 to 1-7 defeat to Killeshandra on April 28.
Since then, they’ve played and lost four matches, but they went three games without conceding a single goal which is a considerable improvement and shows their determination to keep the show on the road even in difficult circumstances.
Their chairman Phil Yorn says it’s their pride in the jersey which keeps them going year after year. MacFinns is the second oldest club in the county and captured the first ever Cavan Senior Championship in 1884, and they’re determined to arrest their downwards spiral which began in the late seventies.
Yorn said: “It’s very hard but we were founded in 1884 and we’re very proud of where we’re from. We’ve a lot of good kids coming through the ranks as well and Michael Muldoon is on the Cavan U-20s.”
As Yorn alluded to, the future is bright with a crop of talented youngsters coming through the ranks. They amalgamated with Munterconnaught to form Blackwater Gaels and there are a bunch of teenagers already lining out for the senior team.
“We’ve a panel of 20-odd players at senior level. We started putting in a big effort at underage level 10 years ago and those players are starting to come through now, but there’s a large gap after that.”
The senior management team of Michael McBride and Paddy Tobin has assembled a talented young team and targeted a big improvement in defence in the wake of their aforementioned defeat to Killeshandra.
Yorn said: “We dropped a few players back. We had tried going man-to-man but the players are teenagers and were being pushed aside. That’s what happens, they weren’t getting much protection because so many senior players have retired in the last few years.”
He added: “That’s the way it goes, there’s loads of good footballers in Cavan but sometimes you have to go defensive – it’s stopped us being beaten by ten goals anyway.”
One thing that really irritates Yorn is the lack of support for the footballers in the stands, although their more positive results as of late may start to attract a larger following.
“I complain about that a lot. We have a monthly meeting and I say it’s scandalous.
“I made it back from a wedding in Clare last year to support them but only three of the parents of the players were at that match. It’s very hard if the parents don’t make the effort to go to games.”
Even though they won’t be winning the St Oliver Plunkett Cup any time soon, Yorn also makes a point of highlighting the commitment of the players who train multiple times a week.
“We are doing better and we’re training as hard as any other team. We train Tuesdays and Thursdays and we’ve started meeting on Saturday mornings as well.”