The Last Line – Final place a tribute to Goan

Shane Goan, Irvinestown Manager

Shane Goan, Irvinestown Manager

Irvinestown might be a surprise final package, says BARRY OWENS, but when you have the likes of Shane Goan laying down the law anything is possible.

The decision to overhaul the championship structures, by the county board, this year has been a big success so far. It was a major decision to take, but it has breathed new life into all of the championships, and hopefully this will mean that whoever triumphs in each championship will be well prepared for the Ulster club championships.


The semi-finals at the were all close games with three of them resulting in a draw. Probably the biggest shock for some would have been Irvinestown beating Belcoo, but having seen them in action in division two I wasn’t overly surprised at them reaching the intermediate final.

They have some good players coming through and in Shane Goan they have a manager they can all look up to and respect.

In the other semi-final we were fortunate to secure a replay after Kinawley out-played us for long periods of the game, but in saying that we could have snatched it at the end and both clubs will probably be happy that they have a second chance this weekend and I would expect another tight encounter.

In the senior semi-finals Derrygonnelly progressed to the final and this was probably expected as they have the best panel of players in the county at the minute and when they play well can do real damage to an opponent.

Belleek probably could and should have been in a senior final but Roslea’s big match experience probably showed at the end when they were able to grind out a draw without playing particularly well.

Belanaleck overcame Coa in the junior semi-final and must wait a few weeks to see who they play in the final with Coa getting a second chance when they play the winners of Aghadrumsee and Brookeborough.

The only downside of the semi-final weekend was that all the games, bar the Brookeborough and Aghadrumsee game, were all played on the Sunday. This meant that any GAA fan wanting to see all the games would have found it difficult to get to them.


The Sunday evening games might not suit families either with kids having school the next day. The CCC do have a hard job trying to please everyone and get venues sorted for all the games, but I felt there could have been double headers on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday. It would have added to the atmosphere at the games and might have attracted bigger crowds.

Expanding the audience

Another initiative I think would help with getting bigger crowds at championship matches would be a weekend pass that you could buy which would allow you access to all championship games for that round of fixtures. It would maybe entice people who would normally go to all the games but are put off by the price of paying into every game.

In these tough economic times it can be hard for supporters to get to as many games as they would like and this would be a small gesture by the county board.

It would also be great if the games were on radio or even on the internet so people who couldn’t get to the games would be able to know what’s going on because at the minute Twitter and Facebook are the only outlets to keep updated on the games.

If you look at Armagh they stream some of their games live on the internet via Armagh TV on their GAA website.

In Cavan they stream some of their games on although as far as I know this is just a radio service, but still it gives supporters at home or abroad a chance to see or hear their club’s games.

In fairness Fermanagh looked at this service a few years ago when Johnny McManus was PRO and maybe it is something that could be looked into again and hopefully developed.

The current PRO, Pauric Mc Gurn, does a great job updating the Twitter and Facebook accounts, all of which is done in a voluntary role and he can’t have much spare time on his hands this last while with a wedding in a few weeks.

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