'I wasn't even playing adult football the last time Duhallow were in a county final'

'I wasn't even playing adult football the last time Duhallow were in a county final'
Castlehaven's Seanie Cahalane has his shot blocked down by Duhallow's Fintan O'Connor. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

FOR Duhallow goalkeeper Patrick Doyle, 2018 has already provided a moment to treasure forever.

With his own club Knocknagree, he got his hands on the All-Ireland junior football club championship at Croke Park.

Things could become even greater for Doyle on Sunday next if Duhallow were to get their hands on a Cork senior football championship medal.

There are some who question why divisional teams are allowed in the biggest competition in club Gaelic Football on Leeside.

One thing is for certain, they allow players like Doyle to perform and aspire to succeed at a level which they might never get to play at with their respective club teams.

Make no bones about it to get to line out against St Finbarr’s in the decider means the world to these Duhallow players.

“That is why divisional sides are brought in, to give players from smaller clubs a chance," said Doyle.

"It is great and we are delighted to be involved. We have an absolutely savage test ahead of us against The Barrs now next week.

"They are a really, really super team. We are really going to have to be at our best to have a chance against them.

“It’s been a long time since Duhallow were in a county final,” added Doyle when speaking moments after his side’s victory.

“I wasn’t even playing adult football the last time Duhallow were in a county final (back in 2012). “We are just delighted to be there in the final and roll on next week.

Doyle declared: "It is a great day for Duhallow to be back in the final, but it means nothing unless you win. Nobody remembers losers.” 

One of the strongest aspects of the Duhallow display was the performance produced from their backline, as they kept the Castlehaven forwards under wraps for large spells.

“Patrick Doyle last week made three good saves, Jerry O’Connor scored 1-3, Michael Vaughan last week scored 0-5 points," said Duhallow boss Padraig Kearns.

“Our guys wouldn’t have the opportunity to play senior football if it wasn’t for Duhallow and Duhallow is good for football in North Cork.

On the game itself, Kearns agreed that his side were organised at the back, but he also felt that a stern test awaits them in the final.

“We were very solid in the defence. But the Barr’s will have three weeks rest and they will be gunning for us and they will be hot favorites.

“Next Sunday is here and now. That will be our focus for the week and getting ourselves up for the game ahead.” 

Although the Barrs will have had a few weeks to prepare for the final upcoming in a few days time, there is a case to be made that Duhallow could have the momentum on their side from lining out in enthralling encounters over the past few weeks with Castlehaven.

Kearns added: “If we win it is the momentum. If we lose, we will be blaming the freshness of St Finbarr’s. At the end of the day that is only excuses.

“If you win the county you are good enough, if you don’t you don’t.” 

Duhallow will now be working over the week to come up with a performance which is enough to secure championship glory.

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