Sean Keenan is relishing the opportunity to win his first piece of silverware with Lisnaskea when his side take on Belcoo in the Intermediate championship final this Saturday. The game is down for a 7:30pm throw in at Brewster Park.
The sharp shooting corner forward has been a fixture in the Emmetts attack since 2012 and while he is still only 22 Keenan he has seen the team experience both highs and the lows in the past five seasons.
“In my first year we reached the county final. Obviously we lost to Tempo but we were among the best teams in the county at that stage but we have slipped back from then so we want to do everything we can to get back to the senior championship,” he explained.
In previous years the two finalists in the Intermediate Championship have been promoted to senior status but this season only the winners will progress to senior level and that fact is certainly an added motivation for this encounter and Keenan admits that this is something that will play a part;
“It adds to things. Obviously the chance to win silverware is brilliant and from a personal point of view it would be my first with Lisnaskea so that is something that is very important. But as I said getting back to the senior championship is so important because it is where we think we should be.”
The Emmetts did not have the best of league campaigns in division one and the chance to get playing championship football has clearly been something that the squad has relished.
“The league has been tough this year. We probably feel we have played better than what our position would show but we just have to deal with that. But getting to play championship was great. Just something fresh and even though the league was difficult we could see positives from it too,” Keenan stated before adding that he feels the team is in an excellent frame of mind at present;
“There is a great buzz around the squad and training has been very good. Every man starting is looking over his shoulder because we now have a really strong bench so that is something that is important too. Every man is being pushed to play better, and you have to be or someone will be in instead of you.”
Their opponents on Saturday, Belcoo are another team who had a difficult campaign in division one and the two teams will meet again in the league relegation play off. But Keenan feels that Belcoo have shown serious improvement in recent weeks;
“They have been playing very well at the tail end of the league and they went and turned over Devenish so that shows what they are capable of. They have some very good players and obviously will be going all out for the win.”
An interesting aside to this encounter is the fact that Peter Clarke, the Belcoo manager, is a Lisnaskea native and has managed the Emmetts on a number of occasions, most recently last season where he guided them from division two into division one. He was also over the side when they famously claimed the All Ireland Intermediate title in 2012.
“If Peter doesn’t know us all inside out by now he never will,” quipped Keenan before adding;
“Knowing Peter he will leave no stone unturned in his preparation and Belcoo will be well up of for the game no doubt.”