By Shaun Casey
WHEN Denn ended an 18-year wait for a championship this season, claiming the Cavan Junior crown, captain Bernard Gaffney made an emotional speech, referring to all the people the community had lost over the last few years.
Gaffney raised another trophy on Sunday as his club captured the Ulster Junior Championship title on a day that was “probably not as emotional” said the team’s manager Stephen Baxter.
“I think it was just a huge weight off our shoulders winning that Junior (county championship) game, just to get over the line.
“There was probably more emotion after it. Different feelings I suppose is the best way of putting it, different emotions winning Ulster compared to winning Cavan.
“It’s a nice release, they’re a very close much of lads, they support each other 100 per cent, they look out for each other which is crucial. A huge amount of tragedy around the area, it’s heart-breaking really. Young lads shouldn’t be experiencing things like that but unfortunately, they did, and I suppose then you have a different type of experience on Sunday.
“We went back to the pitch, and we had all the kids and everything else. It was great to bring it back to the parish and let everyone see it. There’s been a huge amount of support from winning the county I suppose for what has gone on around the area. I think everyone was egging us on, but it was good, it was really good.”
When the final whistle sounded in Clones, the Breffni champions were comfortably seven points ahead of their Donegal counterparts Downings.
“It was unbelievable, it’s an unreal feeling. Winning an Ulster Championship, it’s class and we got across the line probably a lot easier that we would have expected when you consider Downings beating Sean McDermott’s the week before. We’re delighted, absolutely delighted to get over the line.”
Goals win games and Denn have made a habit of hitting the net throughout the campaign. They raised more green flags (seven) than any other team competing in the competition and rattled home a trio of three-pointers to lift the provincial crown.
“We actually watched the game back and the second goal was absolutely phenomenal. It started with a ball being caught underneath our own crossbar and we worked it up the field and it was a great finish.”
Baxter’s men enjoyed the occasion and the days that followed but will refocus on the All-Ireland series, where they meet St Brendan’s of Manchester after the Christmas holidays.
“There was lots of laughter, lots of crack and singing and dancing and everything else that goes with it. That’s one of the reason you play
“We’ll take a couple of weeks off and then we’re playing the English champions in the middle of January, so we have to focus in on that, because it’s normally a tricky enough tie for whoever does come out of Ulster.
“We’ll be looking at that maybe in the New Year, we’ll get Christmas week over, New Year’s week over and we’ll see what happens then after that.”