It has been 19 years since Devenish last graced a senior championship final with a lot of semi-final heartbreak in between so manager Malachy Cullen is keen for his side to grasp the opportunity when it is there.
The Garrison men will enter Sunday’s decider as underdogs against a Derrygonnelly side who are going for three in a row but Cullen has urged his players to leave no stone unturned in their bid to land a first New York Cup since 1996.
“It has been 19 years since the last final for the club and these lads have never been to one, and they may never have the opportunity again, so they will know that they have to grasp the opportunity.
“We have got into a position where we have wanted to get to for so long now so the last thing we will be doing is leaving any stone unturned. There should be no ifs or buts it will all be about trying to win that cup on Sunday,” he said.
However, Cullen is under no illusions about the size of the task that awaits the Garrison men at Brewster Park as they to stop the Harps championship march.
“Derrygonnelly are like a juggernaut at the moment and we have to work out how to halt it. They are a formidable side with a lot of quality and it is a club I would have a lot of respect for. They have a lot of talent at underage but as well as having a lot of talent they are making sure that it is coming through and it is like a conveyor belt heading into the senior squad. They are able to bring in a little group of players every year just to freshen things up and you put that along with a very astute management team and you can see why they are formidable,” said Cullen.
Having got the monkey off their backs by finally ending their losing semi-final streak, Cullen is hoping that his charges can go and express themselves now in the final and he feels that with Devenish being underdogs all the expectation lies with Derrygonnelly.
“Our championship campaign has been patchy. Yes we have displayed a lot of character in the games in that we refused to lie down, but our performances were patchy and there were nervous periods in the games so I would like to think that getting over the semi-final at last will free them up while we are also going into a situation now were we have absolutely nothing to lose,” he said.
While none of the players may have sampled a senior championship final, there is still no shortage of experience in the Devenish ranks in the likes of Barry Mulrone, and Marty O’Brien and Cullen will be looking those players to play a leading role on Sunday.
“We have players who have represented the county for the last seven or eight years but this is their first chance to bring something tangible like a championship back to the club and we will be looking for them to lead the others,” he said.
Cullen states that with the club also celebrating their 100th year, there is a feel good factor around the village in the build up to the final.
“There is a bit of a buzz about Garrison with the team being in the final for the first time in 19 years and also because the club is celebrating its 100th year. Preparations have been going well and everybody is available for selection at this stage which is great.”
And Cullen is hoping that by Sunday evening Devenish will have the New York Cup in their possession.
“At the end of the day, it is two teams and it’s one game, and while it is a tough task it is one that everybody will be excited about and a challenge that everyone will want to have a go at.
“Hopefully at the end of the game we will have the cup to put on the table,” he said.