DONAGHMOYNE AND INNISKEEN FLY THE FLAG FOR MONAGHAN IN THIS WEEKEND’S ULSTER CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS
Donaghamoyne and Inniskeen fly the flag for Monaghan this weekend as they play in the Senior and Junior club finals. First up are Inniskeen who take on Tyrone champions Sperring Og on Saturday in Truagh at 3 o clock. And then on Sunday in Clones, Donaghamoyne play Donegal champions Glenfin, also at 3. I spoke to the captains of both teams, Linda Martin from Donaghmoyne and Sharon Mc Gahon Inniskeen during the week to give me their thoughts ahead of the weekend games.
Firstly I spoke to the Donaghmoyne captain Linda Martin. Donaghmoyne won their 9th county title in a row this year and this weekend they are attempting to win back the Ulster title. Ulster finals are nothing new to this Donaghamoyne team and they go into this weekend’s final having beaten the Antrim and Armagh champions quite comfortably. The following are the questions I put to Linda
Sunday sees you go out to try and win back the Ulster title. How confident do you feel ahead of the game?
As the saying goes you are only as good as your last game. Against Clann Eireann we played very well in patches but there is alot that we need to improve on going into the final.
Last year, you were beaten by the Donegal champions in the final. Do you feel that defeat has made yous more determined this year, and have yous learnt from that defeat?
Yes after being beat last year in the last 10minutes of the game we are very determined to turn around that defeat this year. Obviously we didn’t see out the game to the very end last year, we got complacent and that cost us. So this year we have worked on finishing off the game when we are ahead.
You have a great mix of talent on your team. What do you think the main strengths of your team are?
I think the fact that we are strong in every position on the field and that we have the strength on the bench which is pushing every single player for positions that is making us even stronger this year.
Do you know much about your opposition? Any particular players to watch out for?
We know that they have a few strong county players but other than that we don’t know a whole lot about them. We just hope that if we concentrate enough on our own game that will see us through.
This Donaghmoyne team will go down as one of the best teams not alone in the county but in the country. What is it that makes yous so successful
We work hard at underage level to make sure there is talent always coming through the ranks. Also the fact that our management has been with us since under 12s has alot to do with it. We have been together so long we are more like a family now then a football team.
Are there any key battles we should be watching out for?
I think there are key battles all over the field. The full back and full forward duel will be one to watch on both sides. And the mid-field battle will one that will have to be watched also.
It was clear after talking to Linda that Donaghmoyne are very focused and determined to win back that Ulster title. They have that all important mixture of youth and experience, and their performances this year to date will probably leave them favourites going into the game. But they won’t take nothing for granted as it was the Donegal champions who beat them in the Ulster final last year in the last few moments of the game.
Next I spoke to Inniskeen captain Sharon Mc Gahon. Inniskeen finally made the breakthrough this year after losing out in the county final the last 2 years. They have been very impressive this year to date and if they play to their potential, they will take some beating. The following are the questions I put to Sharon
Inniskeen have been knocking on the door in the Junior championship for the past 3 years. Now this year you have finally made the breakthrough. What do you think has been responsible for this breakthrough?
I think this year we have been really focused on what we wanted to achieve. We started out training last January and from the word go the whole team had one goal in mind – to win the Junior Championship that was so close to us in previous years. We got a new management outfit this year also, Martin Traynor. His drive and energy and knowledge of the sport and what needs to be done to win was also a great help. He set up a good hard training plan, had us eating healthy and made sure we all got physio checks and kept ourselves in the fittest form possible and this all added to the mixture that formed the success we have achieved so far this year. Inniskeen have been successful in the Ulster championship before .Were you part of the panel then. Are there many of the panel that were on that successful team then ,still a part of this panel?
Indeed we have. Inniskeen got to the Junior All Ireland final in 2005 (v Abberdorney of Kerry), which was a tremendous feat. That year we came through Ulster in fighting form. The year after that, in 2006, we were moved up Intermediate and we got to the Ulster semi final. Unfortunately we missed out that year but it was a tremendous effort after being Junior for a number of years and then to contest an Intermediate Semi final the first year we were moved up a grade; this shows the strength and determination in the Inniskeen squad. Many of the players that were a part of that winning team are still playing today. There are about 11 players in total who participated and won with that team. That experience has carried the team and its changes over the years. I was playing with that team and I remember the competition there was for places on the starting 15 for every match. That same competition for places is evident this year. We have the experience of the more senior members and we have a wealth of energy from the more junior members and this means all places are fought for; all healthy competition that drives each player to be at their best all the time!
What do you think are your teams strengths this year?
This year we have minimal injuries and this means that if someone is having an off day there is always a player on stand-by to fill in and play just as good of football. In last years final we had 4 or 5 girls out due to injury but his year we made sure to keep ourselves right, having every niggle or pain looked at and sorted. We have met some teams in the competition so far that have relied on perhaps 4 or 5 players to win their games and with few subs to bring on when someone is injured. For us that’s not the case. We have a very strong, solid defence line, we have a super mid field and our forward line is speedy and accurate. But we also have a subs bench full of top quality players and this stands to us. Where perhaps other years we did rely on a few key players scattered across the field to play key roles and bring success, this year it’s a full team effort. Our management team also has brought a new energy and new ideas to the team. Martins “no nonsense” approach to training and to games keeps everyone on their toes and we all trust him and his decisions. This is very important to us as a team.
Have you any idea of your opposition. Any players to watch out for?
I have to say our management team have been very good at preparing us for games so far. They have been to matches and picked out key players on opposing teams we were meeting in the competition. This weekend is no different. We know that Sperrin Og have a speedy full forward line, they have a very strong mid field and their half back line is solid. With this in mind our management team is preparing us for a tough game and we know where to focus our strengths to try and keep them out of their game.
Having watched yous play this year, I sense there is a feeling of confidence within the team. Would you agree with this, and do you feel confident going into Saturday’s game?
There is confidence this year. We have become very close as a team and I think this is important. A lot of our team is made up of sisters, cousins, friends; players who have been through the thick and thin of what sport involves. This has made us a very strong unit. We are very supportive as a team and we have confidence in each other. This shines through in the way we play. We believe in each other and are willing to play to our best ability for each other and for ourselves. Martin is managing us this year and the team have bonded very well with him also. The trust the team has in him while he makes important decisions during important games, also contributes to a solid unit. We feel confident going into Saturday’s game but this does not mean we are complacent. We know that this Ulster final will be the toughest game we have played this year so far and we are preparing well for it. We are heading into this game with our heads screwed on willing to play our best for 60mins of hard football. We expect Sperrin Og to put up a good quality game of football and we are looking forward to the match.
Who do you think your key players will be?
Fiona Callan has come on leaps and bounds this year. She joined the senior squad this year for the first time and she is a top quality goal keeper. She is hard to beat on one to one and she has got us out of many sticky situations in the past. We have a very solid defence line. We have played with the same defence line out for the best part of the year and it has worked very well for us. Eimear Kelly and Ruth Lorenz have grown in their abilities and are strong behind the ball coming out. We have very strong players in the mid field. Abby Duffy has endless energy and she, along with Isobel Kierans have gelled well in centre field and provide the forwards with endless supply of balls and play key roles in scoring for the team. We have Voreen Quigley at full forward who is a very confident player. Her experience stands to her and to the team and she always has a goal or point up her sleeve.
In conclusion Sharon stated that she would just like to thank Michael Traynor and Jim McConville who have been training them over the last three weeks in the run up to this Ulster Final. They have been fantastic in their preparations for games and training. She also wanted to thank Martin Traynor for his commitment and motivation to the team all year, and to commend the support from locals and from other teams and clubs . She hopes that they will all be out flying the red and green for them on Saturday in Truagh. She congratulated the team for their efforts and hard work and wished both teams the very best of luck
On behalf of the county board, we wish both Donaghmoyne and Inniskeen the very best of luck this weekend.
Linda Martin (c), Joanne Geoghegan, Michelle Grimes, Niamh Lynch, Arlene Keenan, Sharon Courtney, Fiona Courtney, Amanda Casey, Eileen Mc Elroy, Niamh Mc Carthy, Cora Courtney, Lisa Kingham, Annette Duffy, Catriona Mc Connell, Orla Mc Keown, Ann Marie Burns, Hazel Kingham, Aine Finnegan, Niamh Callan, Aine Mc Elroy, Aoife Keenan, Zita Mc Bride, Laura Lynch, Sandra Mc Connell, Gina Mc Gowan, Maria Smyth, Fiona Mc Nally, Elaine Martin, Francis Finnegan, Joanne Courtney, Francis Finnegan, Teresa Comeskey, Ellen Cunningham, Breda Finnegan, Kate Daly, Karen Hall, Edel Keenan, Mary Mc Elroy
Manager Francis Coleman
1 Fiona Callan, 2 Eimear Kelly, 3 Sharon McGahon, 4 Ruth Lorenz, 5 Arlene Kelly, 6 Laura Kelly, 7 Aisling McGeeney, 8 Isobel Kierans, 9 Linda Callan, 10 Tracey McGeeney, 11 Abby Duffy, 12 Miriam Kelly, 13 Bronagh Duffy, 14 Voreen Quigley, 15 Roisin McKenna, 16 Kathrina Byrne, 17 Anna McKenna, 18 Anna Jones, 19 Laura Ashfield, 20 Julieanne Finegan, 21 Gemma Woods, 22 Emma Finnegan, 23 Ciara Mcgeeney, 24 Josie Fitzpatrick, 25 Alice McGahon, 26 Edel Kierans, 27 Emma Murphy
Management: Martin Traynor, Micheal Traynor, Jim McConville
Physio: Amanda McArdle
Ulster Senior Championship Final – Sunday 30th October @ 3 o clock Venue Clones
Donaghmoyne V Glenfin (Donegal)
Ulster Intermediate Championship Final – Sunday 30th @ 1.15pm Venue Clones
Lisnaskea (Fermanagh) V Omagh St Enda’s (Tyrone)
Ulster Junior Championship Final – Saturday 29th @ 3 o clock Venue Truagh
Inniskeen V Sperrin Og(Tyrone)
U13 Development Blitz
The U13 development blitz which was scheduled to take place last Saturday has been re arranged for this Saturday in Cloghan, commencing at 10 o clock. Any club wishing to take part, or if any player whose club are not entering, but who still wishes to come along are asked to be in Cloghan for 9.30a.m . This blitz is the start of a programme in preparation for next year’s U14 team.