IN the lead-up to Sunday’s Ulster Club clash with Kilcoo, Derrygonnelly were aware of just how quick Kilcoo can take a game away from their opponents.

When the sides met in the Ulster Club final two years ago Derrygonnelly had hung in for the best part of the first half but a quickfire 1-02 for the Magpies before the break left six between the sides at half time and from that there was no way back for the Harps.

Being aware of the threat is one thing, stopping it is another thing altogether.

Derrygonnelly would have been happy enough after ten minutes to just be two points down but then came the surge and by the interval the game was over with Kilcoo 11 points to the good.

“We started the game fairly evenly but we just let Kilcoo get away from us too easily,” said Harps selector, Paul Ward.

“They have serious pace and they got their runners through the middle and tapped over a few easy points. The penalty was probably the killer in the first half, it just left us going in at half time deflated.

“I think it was maybe 0-03 to 0-01 after 10 minutes but they then just pulled away to a 1-07 to 0-01 lead after 20 minutes. They nearly know when to put the dagger in, they exploit the space that people leave and they are a really hard team to play against. You sit back they will eventually cut through you and if you push up they have serious pace and they’ll take advantage of the space in behind. They are an impressive team.”

Trailing 1-09 to 0-01 at half time it would have been easy for Derrygonnelly to just throw the towel in but they dug in and went on to outscore Kilcoo in the second half.

“We chatted to the lads at half time; obviously, we knew the game was going to be very hard to claw back but all we asked was that they gave everything that they had and give the crowd something to go home with. And they did that in fairness, they chased and they harried and we got a couple of good scores.

“After we got the goal if we had maybe tagged on one or two it would maybe have made it interesting but unfortunately we gave away that second goal and that was just the final nail in the coffin at that stage,” added Ward.

It was a harsh lesson for the younger players in the Harps squad but one that they will look to learn from, said Ward.

“That is as steep a learning curve on Sunday for some of them young boys as they will ever get. But, some of them lads acquitted themselves really well. Ronan McGovern came on and put in a really good second half performance, Aaron Jones had a good game in defence. They have now seen where the standard is and it is up to them and up to us to try and bring them along to get to that standard.”

There was disappointment for the Harps on Sunday but when they reflect on the season as a whole they will look back on a very successful campaign.

“We won three out of the four adult trophies available with the senior double and the junior championship so any time you bring three back to the club is a great season,” he said.

“We are happy, we blooded a few young lads into the squad this year and hopefully there is another few coming next year to add a wee bit of depth and we can get them to know what senior football is all about as it’s a massive step up from U17.

“Look, the club’s in a good place and we’ll look back in a few weeks and be happy with how this year went,” he commented.