ONLY a brave man would bet against Knocknagree from adding another county championship title to their collection after advancing to the IFC decider with the minimum of fuss.
In truth, there wasn’t a weak link in sight against Millstreet to set up a clash with Gabriel Rangers but team manager John Fintan Daly doesn’t need reminding of a showdown between the pair back in 2016.
“They got the better of us after a replay, no excuses, Gabriels progressed to win a county final.
“On that score, we’ve it all to do. 2020 is encouraging, promoted to League Division 3 and moving to Premier Intermediate ranks but we would like to go up as Intermediate champions,” he said.
To date they’ve only lost a single league game away to Castletownbere only to turn the tables in the subsequent Division 4 final in addition to a defeat by Cill na Martra in the Tom Creedon Cup final.
“I’ve been involved with teams for 40 years, the current commitment has been massive.
“I’ve never come across a group that are prepared to work. We’ve been together 115 times this year, never less than 30 players togged out at any one time, their efforts rewarded that at least guarantees a step up to Premier Intermediate ranks.”
Knocknagree were not flattered by their 19-point winning margin over Millstreet.
“The two goals in quick succession in the opening half put us in the driving seat.
“It was great to see former captain Matthew Dilworth return from ongoing injury and contribute.
“We play the ball in a positive fashion, end to end with very good forwards but I must commend our defence: they don’t receive the credit, they deserve,” said Daly.
“Our skill levels are great, kicking off both feet, passing with both hands and the tackle technique is good.
“That doesn’t happen overnight, we’ve been performing and encouraging this style of play going back to underage days.”
Still the Knocknagree boss is cautious about the decider for Gabriels have proved competitive opponents over the years.
“The defeat in 2016 was a setback but we recovered and made amends the following season.
“From a league game back in July, we were lucky to come away from West Cork with a win, that suggests a great county final is on the cards,” he said.