AIB ALL IRELAND JUNIOR CLUB FOOTBALL FINAL PREVIEW
DERRYTRESK v CLONBUR (GALWAY)
Sunday, February 12, 2pm, Croke Park.
SUSPENSIONS, appeals or other side-issues will be put firmly in the background come around 2pm on Sunday when Derrytresk’s historic journey to Croke Park finally reaches its climax.
Recent weeks have seen the famed Fir An Chnoic dragged through the mire of disciplinary proceedings. But all the controversy is being forgotten as the reality of an All-Ireland Final appearance finally hits home.
Nothing less than a full concentration on what’s at stake will suffice for Derrytresk. Galway and Connacht champions, Clonbur, have also made their mark in some style during the competition, leaving the stage set for what looks set to be an enthralling encounter.
It has been a real adventure for Derrytresk whose Tyrone and Ulster successes paved the way for that seminal victory over Dromid of Kerry a few weeks ago. Midfielder, Ronan O’Neill, has been a stalwart for them throughout this season. Unsurprisingly, he is relishing lining out at headquarters in the decider.
“I think everyone in the club has just been over the moon about what has been achieved this year and the fact that we’re going to be playing in Croke Park,” he said. “In every match this year we just went out to give of our best. We have been underdogs in every match and I suppose it’s going to be the same in the final.
“We know that there maybe isn’t that much talent on the team. But the lads have shown a lot of grit and hopefully that will be the same against Clonbur. The lads have gone out with a lot of heart in the Tyrone and Ulster championships and then again against Clonbur. There’s some very good players in this team and we’re just concentrating on the final now at this stage.”
Derrytresk are hoping to join an illustrious list of clubs who have made their mark on the provincial and All-Ireland Club scenes. Where Greencastle and Cookstown have gone before, now the Fir An Chnoic are aiming to follow.
“It has been an unreal journey for the whole team. We set out against Dromid to stop their middle sector and get back to pick up their players coming through. The tactic worked out perfectly,” continued Ronan O’Neill.
“The first half against Dromid Pearses was always going to be a key and there’s been things that we’ve had to concentrate on for the Clonbur game as well.
FAMILY, FAITH, FOCUS AND FOOTBALL
“Cathal O’Neill read an article about Darragh O Se who said that the highlight of his career was playing in Croke Park with his club. That’s what it means for us as well.
“These lads are my best friends, cousins. They’re my family and the things that matter for us are family, faith, focus and football.
“You have to go into these matches and really try to make your mark. I knew in the semi-final that I had to run once I got the ball. Pain in these matches is only temporary, but you have to put in that effort. If you feel that bit of pain, at the very worst it’s only going to last a day or two, so you have to drain the tank.
“Eight years ago going to see Tyrone in the All-Ireland Final was the big thing. Now we’re going with our team, the Derrytresk club. It’s hard to explain that and hard to believe that we’re actually going to Croke Park. I am just going to enjoy the moment, and give things a rattle and see how it goes.”
It has been a journey enjoyed by all associated with Derrytresk. Now, there’s one dream left to fulfil – the final whistle sounding with the Fir An Chnoic ahead and confirmed as All-Ireland Junior champions.