Traditionally team captains downplay their sides chances ahead of a final but Dromahair captain John Evans, without being cocky, believes that if his side play to their full potential then he will be lifting the Dick Ellis Cup on Saturday evening.
Having seen Gortletteragh in action recently the versatile midfielder, who has also been deployed this year as a centre-forward, John knows what lies in store for Dromahair but is relishing the prospect of playing in the final.
“It will be a tough game,” John stressed, “We were up for their semi-final replay against Glenfarne/Kilty and they have a good, strong team but we’ll equal them, we have a strong team as well. We know where our strengths and weaknesses are and we will look to capitalise on that and hopefully that’s going to be enough.
“If we can get enough ball into our forwards, we have forwards like Conor Kelly and Christy McGowan who can do business for us. Our defence is strong and we don’t see any area where we won’t be able to dominate.”
John sees Saturday’s final as a reward for the hard work the team have put in all year but insists for the players at least, it is just another game. “It’s great for the whole team, we’ve trained hard all year and we’ve taken every game as it comes. Looking at this game it will be no different to any other game, we’ll be looking to get a bigger performance because we know we’ll need it to beat Gortletteragh.
“We’ll be looking at them and seeing where their strengths are and where their weaknesses are and we’ll be looking to capitalise on their weaknesses.”
“We’ve looked at it this year and we feel we have a strong team, we’re going in the right direction, taking every game as it comes and we’re looking forward to the final.
This year saw Gerry Ballantine take charge of the team and John acknowledged he has had a very positive impact on the team.
“Gerry is a proven manager and all the players respect him and the selectors. We’re always looking to perform for him and for the team and we have the highest respect for Gerry.”
When it was put to john that Gerry must be doing something right if he is able to get so many people out for training at 8am on Saturday and Sunday mornings, John laughed before adding, “There were some seven o’clock mornings as well, it was tough going but the guys were always committed to it and nobody put up a fuss about it and it was great that everyone committed to it and we came out on Saturday and Sunday mornings. It didn’t matter so long as everyone was out, we didn’t mind.”
Reflecting on Dromahair’s path to the final John recalled that “Performances have been good but it could have better in some of the games. Our first game against Fenagh we were caught for a goal early on and were trying to catch up and we were happy enough with the result, we won by five points.
“Our next game was against Aughavas we put in a good performance. Our final group game was against Glencar/Manor, a local derby, was always going to be very tough. They put it up to us but we pulled away in the end.
“Eslin was a really tough game and I think that game stood to us. We won that with a point in the end - we were a couple of points up but they got a goal near the end but that was a tough game, it was what we needed.”
The semi-final win over Aughnasheelin saw Dromahair produce arguably their best display of the year with John noting “We never gave them a chance to get in to the game. It was a good performance and we just drove it on.”
Ahead of the final Dromahair will be hoping for a performance which matches the intensity they showed against Aughnasheelin but John stressed while it may be the team’s biggest game in recent years, the team will not be getting too excited. “We’ll be looking for more of the same against Gortletteragh and drive on from it. We’re looking forward to it but it will be no different from any other game.”