With so much experience with the Glencar/Manorhamilton ranks, there are plenty of candidates for captaincy but having been given the role, Darren Sweeney is hoping that he is the man who will be raising the Fenagh Cup on Sunday although he insists the role of captaincy is not something that will change his style of play.
At training in Bundoran the county midfielder commented “It’s great to be captain but it makes no difference to how I play. There are a lot of experienced lads out there, more so than me. I’m happy to be captain but it doesn’t make any difference.”
Darren has had a difficult year in terms of injury with his role in the Leitrim engine room coming to an early end but he is happy to report a clean bill of health ahead of Sunday’s big match.
“The injury has cleared up. It was hard to get a couple of weeks rest between finishing the year with Leitrim and the club championship starting up. I’ve got as much rest as I can on it now but I’m training fully now and there are no issues with it.”
The excitement ahead of Sunday’s game has been increased considerably as a result of the intense rivalry that exists between Glencar/Manor and Melvin Gaels and that rivalry is something Darren relishes, insisting these are the kind of games players want to be playing in.
“The rivalry is great, you want to be playing in a game like that. There’s massive talk about it in our town and I’m sure Kinlough is the same. That’s enjoyable and that’s why you want to play football. On form Kinlough have been the best team this year and you want to be playing the best team, you don’t want to be getting soft games, you want to be playing the best.”
The sides have met already in this year’s Senior Club Championship but Darren doesn’t believe too much can be read into the drawn match as neither side was fully up to Championship speed.
“I don’t know if you can read an awful lot in to that (drawn match). It was the first game of the group stages and there was probably a lot of people involved with Leitrim and it’s hard sometimes, even though you’re telling yourself you’re up for it fully, sometimes your mind just isn’t 100% on it.
“The game was nowhere near as intense as the final is going to be. You can take a little bit form it but not much really. It didn’t give much away, it was a low scoring game and you can’t really take a lot from it.”
Melvin Gaels are regarded by many as the form team in this year’s Championship with Darren noting, “Kinlough are going better than they were then and we’re probably the same, going slightly better. It’s going to make for a great game hopefully.”
While he is full of praise for the form of the Kinlough men, Darren is as enthusiastic when talking about his own side’s form to date but having reached the final he knows there is enough quality within his side to rise to the big occasion.
“At the start of the year our main objective was to get to a county final again and we’re taking it no further than that. We by no means think we have another championship or anything like that, we know we have a massive task ahead of us.
““We are winning and it’s great that we have won the games that we’ve played but we’d like to think that we set our standards reasonably high and we haven’t really reached that as of yet. For example the last game against Carrick, we would have no quarrels if we hadn’t won that game. We didn’t perform well enough, we didn’t create enough chances. Carrick possibly created more chances and definitely more goal chances than we did.
“We need a bit of luck, we’ve always had a bit of luck over the last couple of years and thankfully we’ve had a bit of luck this year so far, we just hope that our luck hasn’t run out.”
As the build up to the game gathers pace, Darren happily reported a clean bill of health within the squad noting, “Preparations are going well, training is going well and everyone is flying fit, we’re just ready to go at this stage.”
As has been the case in the last four years on their path to Championship glory Glencar/Manorhamilton have been able to call on an array of experienced and talented players from the bench and Darren believes that strength in-depth cannot be underestimated.
“We are absolutely blessed, we have players that aren’t getting games or aren’t getting full games that would possibly make other teams in the county but we’re blessed. It’s a great complaint that boys are obviously annoyed sitting on the sideline because there is no difference between a lot of the boys. The six or seven subs that have come on all championship, there’s very little between them and what’s out on the pitch.”