Martin Greene has yet to taste defeat in the Fermanagh Championship as Derrygonnelly manager but he believes his side face a massive challenge in their search for three in a row on Sunday when they take on derby rivals Devenish in the final at Brewster Park.
There is no doubt that the Harps will enter the final as favourites but Greene states that his side will have to be very wary of the threat posed by the Garrison outfit.
“First of all it is a derby match so that in itself brings a challenge while we know ourselves in Derrygonnelly that when you haven’t played in a final for a long time you have that hunger and intensity and Devenish will be doing everything they can to make sure they go on and win. Added to that is the fact that it is their Centenary year so they will be leaving no stone unturned to try and come out on top. It is going to be tough and we have to be mentally ready for that challenge,” he said.
Greene also acknowledges that Devenish have plenty of quality in their side and he believes that a tight contest lies ahead.
“The media will make us favourites but we know that Devenish are an experienced team and they have a lot of quality all over the field. Barry Mulrone, Marty O’Brien, Anthony McGuinness and the O’Flanagans are all very good players so we are very aware of what they can bring to the table and anytime we play each other there is not much more than the kick of a ball in it. In fact in the last two championship games we have played against them they have been ahead so they won’t fear us and I can’t see there being much in it,” he added.
The Harps boss though feels that the couple of tough championship games that his side have come through against Erne Gaels and Roslea after a replay will stand them in good stead going into the decider.
“We had a tough opener against Belleek, that was a difficult game but the boys showed a bit of character in the last 20 minutes that day and then the first day against Roslea was also a tough challenge, albeit a different one. It has been a hard run but hopefully that will have brought our lads on and it has probably left us in a good place for the final,” he commented.
Derrygonnelly were without a raft of key performers during the league but in the long run it has benefitted the Harps as others have come in and shown what they can do as they finished top of the table. And it has meant that when those absent players returned Greene had strength in depth at his disposal and that has been important for them in the championship to date with the bench making a good impact.
“We used a fair amount of players during the league and that has helped strengthen the squad. Young players have come in and performed well throughout the course of the league and I suppose finishing top of the league gave us confidence going into the championship,” he said.
So, three in a row beckons for Derrygonnelly but Greene stresses that it is not something that has been discussed.
“We haven’t thought about that at all. All we are thinking about is a game of football, we will be going out to beat Devenish and they will be looking to beat us so whatever the result brings, it brings.”
For that result to be positive though Greene feels his side will have to be at their best for the full 60 minutes.
“We have only really been playing in patches of 20 minutes here and there but that won’t be enough on Sunday, we need to perform from start to finish. Devenish will come out of the blocks with that hunger and drive and we’ll have to match that.We will be trying to produce our best performance to date and see where that takes us,” he said.