Over the past few years, Dorsey Emmets have been around the business end of the Junior Championship, reaching the last four in 2018 and ’19.
The two years previous, the South Armagh men crashed out at the Quarter Final stage, with the team that beat them going on to contest the final.
Conor Moley has been an ever present figure in that Dorsey side and the towering midfielder has experienced the ups and downs of Championship football in recent seasons.
2016 saw Dorsey drawn against Collegeland in the opening round of the Championship and although Moley and his men held a 1-6 to 0-2 lead, Collegeland fought back to level the tie, and earn an unlikely replay.
“Whenever we play against Collegeland over these last few years, they do tend to be tight. It was a bit of a rollercoaster. The first game we probably should have won, but let it slip away from us, which we’ve a habit of doing”.
“Our centre half back was playing brilliant and he ended up doing his knee at the start of the second half and we never really plugged that gap”.
“Tom Murphy was playing centre half forward or wing half forward and he had that free space, in the second half he really pulled Collegeland out of the hole.”
Collegeland edged through in the replay, securing a 0-13 to 1-8 victory, sending Dorsey to the qualifiers.
“The second game, we just didn’t have that firepower at the last to get us over the line. I think we missed a couple of handy frees coming near the end and I remember Collegeland scoring an absolute woozer of a free kick from 42 or 43 yards out and they just held on.”
Dorsey Emmets breezed through to the Quarter Finals with easy wins over Newtown and Killeavy to face Cullyhanna, with a spot in the last four up for grabs.
“Usually whenever we play the likes of Newtown it’s a good bit closer, but on that day we just hit form. Against Killeavy we pushed on and got a good win there, so we were carrying good momentum into that one (the quarter final)”.
Rivals St Patrick’s proved too strong in the end and while Dorsey ran their neighbours close, Cullyhanna had enough to see out a 2-14 to 1-11 victory.
It was Déjà Vu in 2017, as Dorsey once again gave up a half time lead to draw in the opening round, this time Ballyhegan came roaring back to force a replay.
“It was one of those games that we just didn’t close out. We had the opportunities and we were dominating them around the middle of the field”.
“At the end of the game we were three or four points up and they hit three scores from free-kicks on the bounce, and we’d a man sent off in the last six or seven minutes and it really shook us”.
“They just pulled it back with the last kick of the game and whenever we played them again, they gave us a good beating”.
There was only one winner the next day out, and despite the defeat Dorsey were able to once again find their way to the last eight of the competition, Corrinshego the opposition this time around.
“Whenever we drew (against Ballyhegan), which we should have won, we got brought back down to earth with the second game and just couldn’t really get up for the Corrinshego game”.
“We had beaten Corrinshego earlier on in the league and I think that might have got into a couple of boys heads”.
“We started off well, we seem to always start off these games well, and just coming near the end we can’t get that last couple of scores that we need to close out the game”.
“Corrinshego ran away with it in the last couple of minutes, they had a couple of good free takers who punished us and we just didn’t get the scores that we needed towards the end of the game”.
Once again Dorsey failed to qualify for the final four, but they would push on in 2018 and a surprise victory in round one got the ball rolling.
They hosted the unbeaten League Champions Keady and against the odds pulled off one of the shocks of the year.
“Keady had been unbeaten throughout the whole league and had only just come down from the second division and they were destroying teams”.
“We kept with them the whole game and coming near the end they got a penalty and our keeper saved it”.
“We went straight up the field and scored a goal. It was end to end stuff then and we held on. It was good result for us, it turned our year around”.
A thirteen point victory over Killeavy saw Dorsey top their Championship group and gain automatic entry to the Quarter Finals.
Another big win over Redmond O’Hanlon’s allowed Dorsey to enter the semi finals, where An Port Mor stood in their way of reaching the show piece.
“I just remember the two warm ups of those games against Keady and Killeavy, you know when you’ve a good warm up and there’s intensity and people are focused”.
“It was a real controlled performance from start to finish (against Killeavy) and there wasn’t really much doubt after ten or fifteen minutes, we had that game under our belt and saw it through. That was two good games to start off the Championship”.
“We had a strong midfield and once we played well against Keady, who were dominating midfield in most club games that year, we knew we could compete and that gave us a boost around the middle”.
“Killeavy had just beaten us in the 3B final that year; they beat us by a point. They didn’t lie down or allow us to just have a free run”.
“I know we ran out comfortably winners in the end, but it felt like a proper Championship game right up until the finish”.
“We definitely played well in all three of those games, which would be unusual for us to put two or three good games together. Whenever we done that in Championship, it was a nice feeling”.
An Port Mor would prove to be a much sterner test however, and although they pushed hard throughout, Dorsey just came up short.
“We started off flying. We were winning ball in midfield, we were breaking through and we we’re doing everything right but we kept missing score after score. I think we kicked five or six wides in a row and going into half time it was fairly close”.
“They (An Port Mor) were only down from Division Two, so they were a wee bit cuter. They kept hitting us on the counter-attack and they just saw the game out”.
“It was disappointing because we did put a lot of effort in, and the managers put a lot of effort in that year and we were flying in those first three Championship games”.
“The occasion and the bit of hype about us probably left the whole team a wee bit nervous going into it”.
“It was even more gutting that Keady went on to win it after we had beaten them in the first round”.
“You wouldn’t know what would have happened if that was a one off game in the Championship, like it used to be, so it was annoying to know we were as good as the best team in the League and Championship and we were the only team to beat the that year”.
Dorsey aimed to go one better the following year and like 2018, they opened their Championship campaign with a win against eventual winners, Collegeland.
“Collegeland had beaten us in the league comfortably enough four or five weeks before that, so we knew what they were capable of”.
“I’d say they probably came into that game under the impression that they were going to beat us well and move on”.
“Everything went right for us that day. It was some of the best football we played over the last three or four years, again there was a lot of work put in between the league and championship”.
Although losing to Forkhill in round two, Dorsey had done enough to top their group on score difference, advancing to the Quarter Finals to face Cullyhanna.
A late goal paved the way to victory with the final score of 1-12 to 2-6 securing a last four spot, “It’s one of those games against Cullyhanna, you can never really write them off”.
As fate would have it, Dorsey found themselves paired with Collegeland, who made a mends for their defeat in round one, claiming a 2-8 to 0-9 win.
“We kicked maybe eight wides in the first half and once you start doing that, that’s when the doubt starts to feed in”.
“They were almost like a carbon copy of An Port Mor the year before, once they got on top in the second half, we were chasing tails”.
“They were able to get easier scores while we had to work far harder to get our scores”.
2020 offered another year of hope, and Dorsey planned to give the league a good rattle this year, but uncertainty still surrounds the remainder of the year.
“We got a new management team in this year and preseason was going really well, we’d brilliant numbers and boys eager to train”.
“A lot of times in the league the last couple of years we’ve been up against the bigger teams and been four or five point behind and they’ve been able to get past us and that’s a mental block we’re looking to get over”.
‘If we can hang with them in the league, there wouldn’t be such a big shock going into the Championship”.
“For Championship, we didn’t want to go further back than where we were the last couple of years; semi final and final is where we were looking for this year”.