Newtownbutler Manager Darren Chapman knows that there is a wonderful opportunity this Sunday for his side to reach an Ulster final, but he feels it will take a season-best display if they are to achieve that when they take on Cavan side Drumlane in Clones in the Ulster Club JFC semi-final.

“It is a huge opportunity for the lads to progress to an Ulster final for the first time in the club’s history, so there is an awful lot at stake and we are really looking forward to the challenge,” said Chapman, who expects a massive test.

“I was actually in Breffni Park for Drumlane’s game against Craigbane and I saw the video of them against Clones. They are a physically big side with some decent footballers and I’m expecting a very tough challenge.

“Our best performance of the year is going to be required if we are going to make it into an Ulster final,” he added.

And Chapman feels that the key for Newtownbutler is making sure that they perform on the day.

“It will be key that we keep the tempo high and match them physically and, most important of all, perform ourselves.

“We have made our plans but at the centre of all is you have got to show up in semi-finals if you are going to have any chance of winning.

“The best plans in the world are useless unless we execute ourselves, so a big focus in the last two weeks is taking cognisance of the team we are playing but most importantly making sure that we perform ourselves.”

In that regard, Chapman believes that it will be crucial that they are mentally ready for the game and he has already seen what happens when that is not the case.

“We need to be on point mentally, and the guys have found out – particularly the younger guys – that you can’t just ‘switch on’ on the day of a big game and announce that you are ready to play football.

“The preparation for games starts five, six, seven days out mentally and physically in terms of nutrition and hydration but you have got to be prepared mentally for games, be prepared to accept that you are in a scrap so that if it happens you are able to deal with it and it doesn’t come as a shock to you.

“Against Aghadrumsee that first night, mentally we weren’t on the money,” he explained.

However, they learnt the lessons from that defeat, and took full advantage of having a second bite of the cherry.

“From the Brookeborough [semi-final] game, we went out and executed a game plan and killed that game off pretty quick.

“Against Aghadrumsee in the county final, that was a bit of a scrap and it was just hunger and appetite that got us across the line.

“Then in the Na Pairsaigh game – that first 30 minutes, I wouldn’t say it was a perfect execution, it was an almost perfect execution of a game plan.

“A lot of these guys are very young and every game is bringing them on and you can see them developing from a tactical and mental perspective every time they go out to play, and hopefully that trend will continue on Sunday,” he said.

This current Newtown team have has had an influx of talented youngsters and as they continue to make positive inroads at underage level there should be more to follow in the years ahead.

And Chapman feels that this run in Ulster is not only important for the current crop, but also for those that are coming behind them.

“It is developing the current crop of players in terms of their personal development and what it is also doing is setting a template for all the kids that are coming through so that they can see the first team competing at provincial level.

“That provides its own impetus at underage level so it is very important on a number of levels; from the team that is actually playing in it, to the teams that are watching those guys and hoping to emulate them coming through in the next three or four years.

“Hopefully it will help in the overall development of the club, moving forward,” he added.