Derrylin undone, but plenty to take pride in

Derrylin manager Mickey Cadden

Derrylin manager Mickey Cadden

Sombre is the atmosphere as Mickey Cadden closes the door behind him on the Derrylin dressing room for the last time in 2014.

It was a tough outing for his men, one where they were chasing for the entire duration. And yet, one feels Cadden wouldn’t have been entirely unhappy at half time. Just three points adrift after Inniskeen dominated the first half and plenty of scope for Derrylin to push on. You’d be wrong though.

“We were in the game, but we were unhappy with the way we played,” said Cadden. “We didn’t play the way I intended us to play. We got involved in a bit of physicality that I thought we needed to stay out of. I said if we got into that we would be on the receiving end of a beating.
“They did a lot of homework on us, they gave us a lot of respect in the way they set up. They worked very hard on this game. You have to admire them for that, to give us so much respect.

“It’s not that we didn’t give them respect, we worked on our plans too, but maybe the [Inniskeen] boys that we thought were going to do damage, didn’t do the damage and other boys did.

“We didn’t get the rub of the green as much as we usually do and things just didn’t go well for us today.

“We said at the start of the game we weren’t going to kick stupid, aimless ball in, and that’s what we did. We went into tackles and lost ball, we kicked ball in and lost it and those were two of the things I tried to point out at the start of the game and we just didn’t pick up on it.”

One of those who came from leftfield to smash through Derrylin’s Ulster hopes was Paul Meegan. The Inniskeen attacker was unmarkable, especially in the first half.

“We watched him in their last game and saw him on the videos and he wasn’t one of their stand outs for us. We knew he was dangerous, but we were worried about other people like Matthew McKenna, Fergal  Duffy, Trevor Hilliard, but those men didn’t influence the game as much as Meegan.

“The time they got the goal was just at the right time, if we had got the goal at that time we’d have been kicking on too. We were just chasing the game all day and that’s one of the things from my own past experiences of being in Ulster that’s the hardest part, chasing the game.”

It has been a serious journey though for Derrylin this year and Cadden was phlegmatic enough to step back and look at the bigger picture.
“I said it before we even started here today, think back 12 months ago to what Derrylin were doing at this time of the year. Bottom of the second division, bottom of the third division actually and second worst team in Fermanagh. To make the progress they have this year. To get to division two was enough, then to go and win the intermediate championship was something else, then to win a game in Ulster was another step further. Some days some bridges are just too far to travel, but I can’t fault our lads.

“I’ll never, never be fit to repay these boys for the work they’ve put in this year. The togetherness after that defeat in that changing room, you could feel it. You know those boys are together again and ready to kick on again next year and hopefully kick on to better things next year. That’s our aim now, to keep this level up and sustain a better level for the next couple of years and hopefully we’ll be in a senior Ulster championship.”
And with Derrylin bringing through a young talented team and giving them exposure to the best that Ulster has to offer, looking towards bigger and brighter days is not an unrealistic ambition.

“It a young team and there’s boys there with plenty of experience, but still fit enough to play senior football next year,” said Cadden. “To be in the senior championship next year is a massive, massive thing for us. This has been a fantastic year, I’ll never be able to repay these boys and the community of Derrylin for taking me in so well. It’s just been a wonderful year.”

Who knows, perhaps this could be the start of a journey rather than the end.


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