Only a few will remember the last time Kinawley won the Division One trophy because you have to rewind the clock 84 years, to 1938.
The Boru’s didn’t feature in another league final until 1963 when they lined out against Devenish but because of torrential rain, the game was abandoned.
The replay was played in ‘64 with many of Kinawley’s players having emigrated and the Garrison men proved too strong that day. The hunger for victory is very real and Kinawley manager Dom Corrigan senses it;
“Our senior final appearances have been very rare, and when we’re there, we’re absolutely delighted. There’s a nice wee buzz about the parish and that’s exactly what you want to see.
“We’re going into Sunday’s game, obviously we would love to win it but at the same time, irrespective of what the outcome is on Sunday, I’ll be looking on it as a learning experience for this group of players.”
Erne Gaels will carry the favourites tag into this match after an unbeaten nine-round league, which included a big win over the Boru’s. Corrigan hopes his team will have learned from that defeat and make a better fist of things this weekend;
“I got to see at first hand the type of quality Belleek had. We played them in the Players’ League but they were well short. They had the likes of Ryan Lyons, Tommy McCaffrey, and Oisin Kelm, boys who didn’t play against us.
“Belleek are a serious outfit but I feel that we didn’t do ourselves justice on that particular day.
“If we perform like we performed in Kinawley, it’s going to be a difficult afternoon in Brewster, but we’ll have learned from that and be hoping to give a really, really good account of ourselves and that’s the most important thing.”
With championship looming, Corrigan says a league final is perfect preparation;
“It’s a great challenge, it’s exactly what we want before championship, to test ourselves out. If we weren’t in this league final we’d be going around the county or even outside the county looking for a really good challenge and certainly this Belleek team will test anybody out.
“We’re going in knowing we have a task on our hands but knowing what’s in front of you can be an advantage as well.”
Corrigan has been plagued by injuries but has got a few players back who will make a difference. Eoghan McManus was back last Friday night, Aaron Reilly is back in as well as Dom’s son Ruaírí who has missed much of the league.
Another doubtful for the game is Corrigan’s other son Tomás.
Ciaran and Paul Breen have both missed the majority of the league with hamstring injuries and won’t be back, while long term injury absentee Tom Keenan is a big miss for the Boru’s.
For all of Corrigan’s squad, Sunday’s decider will be their first senior final. It’s Corrigan versus Ryder on the sideline and beside Ryder will be Ciaran Smyth, who Corrigan knows very well;
“Ciaran was my 1999 MacRory Cup captain, a brilliant football man and a great coach as he has proven. Him and Seamus have done a great job in gelling that team together and playing the football that they are playing. But, I hope they don’t have them as razor sharp on Sunday as the previous match!” he laughs.
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