Everyone is aware of just how fierce the rivalry between reigning champions Glencar/Manorhamilton and last year’s Intermediate Champions Melvin Gaels is but next Sunday’s Connacht Gold Leitrim Senior Championship Final has one slightly over-looked but incredibly significant prize at stake - whoever wins will move ahead of the loser in the all-time Leitrim Senior Football Championship Roll of Honour!
Glencar/Manor’s four titles in a row has seen them sprint up the Roll of Honour to stand on six Senior Championship titles, level with Melvin Gaels.
The Manorhamilton club’s titles came in 1977, 1999, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 while the Kinlough men claimed the Fenagh Cup in 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1965 and 1998 as the Gaels completed their own four-in-a-row within the first six years of qualifying for the Senior grade.
Whoever wins will move to seven titles, just two behind the legendary Aughavas and Aughawillan teams, but the significance of the feat will not be lost on the celebrating fans next Sunday evening.
And while both captains are looking forward to the game, neither is looking at history but simply regarding next Sunday as a great chance to get their hands on the Fenagh Cup.
Glencar/Manor captain Darren Sweeney said of the intense rivalry with Melvin Gaels “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.”
Melvin Gaels captain David McSharry was equally clear in his desire to win the title - “Once you get a taste for winning, anyone will tell you that you get a liking for it. That hunger is there again, we want to reach the top of Leitrim football and I suppose stopping Manor going for five is bonus enough.
“They won’t like to see it (the Fenagh Cup) coming down to Manorhamilton on the way to Kinlough and if that is not incentive enough for them, I don’t know what is.”
In the run-up to the Final, the Observer visited both camps with four pages of interviews, photographs and our big match verdict.
And keep an eye out for next week’s Leitrim Observer for the best in-depth coverage of the biggest day in Leitrim Club Football.