For the past six years, Mullahoran fans have seen their hopes of returning to the summit of senior county football disappear over the horizon every summer.
This weekend those very supporters will be hoping to emulate the memorable scenes of 2006 as the Dreadnoughts take on Kingscourt in this season’s Cavan Senior Football Championship decider at Kingspan Breffni Park.
One of the select few who can still recall those heady days six years on is Mullahoran stalwart Danny Brady.
Instead of donning the synonymous blue and yellow shirt he wore with distinction during a long and successful playing career, Brady will be standing shoulder to shoulder in the Mullahoran dugout alongside manager Niall Lynch and fellow selector Eamon Brady.
“We didn’t think we’d have to wait as long to get back to one but we are there now and we are in with a chance,” he said, just prior to a mid afternoon training session last Saturday.
Unlike previous years, the Cavan football spectrum has a distinctly different look to it this year, following the early exit of defending champions Cavan Gaels at the quarter final stages.
Now, just two teams remain following Mullahoran’s slender two point victory over Killygarry and Kingscourt’s demolition of Castlerahan in the other semi-final.
The absence of the Gaels from this year’s title shake up is clearly not lost on Brady, despite his admission Kingscourt go into the contest as most people’s fancy to emerge victorious.
“I know Kingscourt might be the favourites but I would like to think we won’t be far away come the final whistle. We have that bit of experience, there’s a few lads playing with the U21s and then there are a few that are around the 24, 25 age mark so we would like to think we have a good balance there,” he added.
Much of that task will undoubtedly fall on the shoulders of club captain Dermot Sheridan should he take his place in next Sunday’s starting XV. The experienced half back faces a race against time to prove his match fitness after picking up a leg injury in the win over Killygarry.
“Hopeful,” was his simple, but short reply when asked by the Leader about his chances of starting. “I’m up against it to be honest.”
Sheridan’s honesty is commendable. His eagerness to play a part, and more importantly the role of captain perhaps even more so.
“It was a very tough year for a lot of lads and families in the parish. I suppose the community spirit comes through at that time and the football club is at the heart of that. When we go back training that gives people a great lift as there are a lot of people who are very football-orientated in Mullahoran. I think if the team does well, it might bring back a small bit of pride and joy into people’s lives and the team are very aware of that,” he said.
For its manager, Niall Lynch next Sunday’s encounter can’t come quick enough. Sheridan apart, the Cuchullains clubman has a near full strength panel to choose from.
“Barring the injury to Dermot we would feel that people are coming into the best shape they have been all year and just at the right time. Obviously we have had a look at the Kingscourt team and identified areas where they would feel they are strong and areas that we feel we can do against. To be totally honest, we will be focusing totally on our game plan from this point onwards,” he said.
Precisely what blueprint Lynch has mapped out in his own mind only he knows. One feature which does appear, however, to loom large is his penchant for hard work and dedication.
“This team is second to none in terms of work-rate,” he strongly put it. “We have prepared for every game and I can say that we are working to the pin of our collar to play to the best of our ability and that’s what we intend to do in the final.”
Bold words they maybe, but it’s a statement you feel that might just pay the richest of dividends come around 3pm on Sunday afternoon.
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