More at stake than just the intermediate crown

The Fermanagh Club Championship always throws up some tasty ties and Saturday’s Intermediate Championship Final between Erne Gaels and Devenish is one that whets the appetite.

With a total of 19 championship titles between them, 15 of which were for Devenish, 10 senior and five juniors, as opposed to Erne Gaels’ four honours, two seniors, one intermeidate and one junior, the championship predigree lies with the Melvin men.

Both sides include a host of county stars in their ranks from under 17 through to senior as well as plenty of experienced heads who have played their fair share of championship football.

The prize of returning to the Senior Championship is one that Devenish manager, Sid Mulrone, wants his players to grasp with both hands.

“Starting out, the first intention is to retain your Division One status and finish as high as you can. If you make a league final, well in good, but staying in Division One is most important.

“We achieved that and the second one is to do as well as you can in the Championship and we have done that so we are just looking forward to the final now.”

The past few years haven’t been easy for Devenish. The last time that the Garrison men tasted championship silverware was twenty years ago, in 2001, when the Garrison club landed the Junior Championship title.

Devenish has gone through a big change in player personnel but a new crop of players, including Fionan O’Brien and Malachy O’Flanagan, have strenghtened their squad depth and helped replace the major hole left by a season-ending injury picked up by Barry Mulrone earlier this year.

“We have been in a sort of a transition period over the last couple of years, with players retiring and others missing out through injury, but the young guys who have came in have certainly gave it a real lift and brought a lot of energy to it” says Sid, “everybody has bought into what we are trying to do. It certainly has been a great year for us so far.”

Erne Gaels boss, Stephen Ryder, knows that if his side are to get their hands on the Championship title, they will have to try and curtail the influence of the speedy Devenish men.

“We need to stop their main players. Terry O’Flanagan and Fionan O’Brien have been playing well, they are physical around the middle with Jason Love and [Luke] Robinson going well and physically imposing.

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