Regaining lost glories driving on former giants

A meeting of Melvin Gaels and Gortletteragh ten years ago wouldn’t have been out of place in the Senior Final but tomorrow’s (Saturday) Glenfarne Wood Products Intermedaite Championship Final in Ballinamore (5.00 throw-in) sees both teams determined to regain lost glories.

A meeting of Melvin Gaels and Gortletteragh ten years ago wouldn’t have been out of place in the Senior Final but tomorrow’s (Saturday) Glenfarne Wood Products Intermedaite Championship Final in Ballinamore (5.00 throw-in) sees both teams determined to regain lost glories.

By John Connolly

The meeting of clubs from opposite ends of the county is an intriguing one as Gortletteragh reach their first Intermediate since they dropped out of the Senior ranks while Melvin Gaels, barely 12 months since they were relegated, are looking for an immediate return to the top flight.

Normally, Gortletteragh with their proud history and talent such as Ciaran Egan, Cathal McCrann, Darren Duignan, Cathal Quinn and Conor Reynolds would be automatic favourites but it is a measure of the task that faces Letirim’s most southerly club that they themselves acknowledge that they are underdogs next Sunday.

Liberally sprinkled with Senior Inter-county players, past and present, young up and coming stars and players who have years of dedicated service to the Kinlough based club, it is no surprise that Melvin Gaels are being regarded as hot favourites to take the title next Saturday in Ballinamore.

In fairness, it is easy to see why - the Gaels currently top Division One of the League ahead of Senior Finalists Glencar/Manor & St. Mary’s, boast the talents of Leitrim stars Emlyn Mulligan and Paul Brennan and in James Phelan, Fabian McMorrow, Martin McCarron, Brendan Brennan & David McSharry, have an experienced spine that most clubs can only look at with envy.

And if all that wasn’t enough to firmly place the favourites tag on the Gaels, they demolished Gortletteragh in the group stages, winning by 2-14 to 1-4 to send out a message that they would indeed be the team to beat.

Since then, they have done nothing to suggest that they won’t be celebrating on Saturday evening as they out-classed Aughavas in the Quarter-Finals before emerging from a hard hitting clash against neighbours Glenfarne/Kiltyclogher, holding their neighbours score-less for the entire second half.

Yet if you talks to anyone involved with the Kinlough club, it is the fear that they could be surprised by a Gortletteragh team who have improved with every outing since that opening day hammering at the hands of Melvin Gaels.

In a winner takes all game against Ballinaglera, Gortletteragh demolished the north Leitrim side and they followed it up with a hugely impressive win over a highly fancied Dromahair team in the quarter-finals, their six point winning margin not quite reflecting their overall dominance.

To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.