Before a ball was kicked in the 2022 Junior Championship, Derrynoose were the favourites to capture the Sean Quinn Cup. And they’ve backed that up so far in the campaign.
League success marked a team ready to finally make the breakthrough, having last tasted championship glory in 1973.
Paul Doyle’s men have saw off huge challengers to reach this stage, beating St Michael’s, Dorsey and Middletown.
Derrynoose have been knocking on the door for a while, having surprising lost out to Collegeland in the 2019 decider. That was the last time they competed on the big day.
The addition of some new blood in the form of Mark Lennon, Jack Fox and Dylan Mone has combined well with the experience of David McCreesh and captain Patrick Kelly.
Throw in Stephen Keenan and Conor McNally, who timed their return from injury perfectly to come off the bench and net in the semi-final.
But Lissummon pose stiff opposition. Seen as the dark horses before the championship swung into gear, Seamus Loughran’s side have done extremely well.
In the 50th year of the club, Lissummon powered to third position in the league. They trailed Derrynoose and Middletown.
Their league displays helped to bring confidence and momentum into the business end of the season. And they’ve played like a team full of belief.
Steven Matthews is the sharpshooter and main scorer in attacked and he’s aided by Tom O’Hagan in the inside line.
Michael Robinson is the architect up front while captain Peter Quinn and Damian O’Hagan combine to make a solid midfield pairing.
At the back, experienced campaigner Darren Hughes commands the centre while Paudi Rogers offers a helping hand.
Lissummon saw off Killeavy II, Thomas Davis and An Port Mor to book their spot in the championship decider for the first time since 2004.
Derrynoose are expected to end their season as league and championship winners, but it certainly won’t be as straightforward as that.
In the league, Lissummon pushed their opponents all the way, losing once but winning their most recent clash by the minimum, almost disrupting Derrynoose’s promotion push.
That being said, Derrynoose have been eyeing up a championship glory for a long time. While this could go right down to the wire, Paul Doyle’s side should eventually prevail.