It’s been 15 years since the blue and white flag of Derrynoose accompanied the tri-colour on championship final day while 1985 is the last time they collected a championship trophy. Collegeland haven’t had to wait as long to return to the showpiece having featured in the final game of the season in 2014, when they lost at the hands of Keady.
The three time champions Collegeland, who last won the Junior Championship in 2007, will head into today’s game as slight underdogs but the O’Rahilly’s side will be unconcerned by the bookies odds. The Junior Championship has thrown up some surprising results throughout the season so the same is not out of the question this evening.
League Champions Clonmore were heavy favourites when the championship draw was made but an underwhelming performance saw them crash out to a Jemar Hall inspired Forkhill who then held the favourites tag. Welcome Derrynoose into the fold who fired past Forkhill to storm into today’s showdown.
Collegeland similarly overcome Forkhill on their route to the final, beating the South Armagh men by three points in the group stages before knocking out Killeavy and Dorsey Emmets to book their place in the final game of the season. The group stages were of no worry to Derrynoose as they stormed through all that lay in front of them.
This game could ultimately be decided by two men, Derrynoose’s Conor McNally and whoever Collegeland decide to pick him up. McNally has been in scintillating form for his side all season long and it was his 1-6 the last day out that guaranteed Derrynoose’s spot in the final showdown.
Davy McCreesh will ably assist McNally from full forward while Pearse Lennon also knows where the posts are. Aaron Fox and Patrick Quinn will keep watch in defence while Peter McKearney will most likely be handed the task of limiting Cathair McGeary’s influence around the centre of the park.
For Collegeland to capture the title today they will need McGeary to have the game of his life. The talented youngster is part of Kieran McGeeney’s wider Armagh panel so a lot will be expected of McGeary today. Scott McCann is a hard working wing half forward while Shane Donnelly scored two incredible goals the last day out and Derrynoose should be well aware of the danger he presents.
If Collegeland can restrict McNally’s influence on the game, they are well on their way to glory but it seems Derrynoose will have too much for their opponents today and should take home the trophy with a few points to spare.