Grounds: O’Connell Park
Colours: Green and White
If you were to narrow down the pick of Prunty pitches in this county you would have to come across O’Connell Park in the subdued village of Milltown – home to Drumlane GAA.
Take a wander around the facilities and you will find an impressive crowd stand with the words ‘Drumlane GAA May 2006’ imprinted on the back wall and you will be looking at a landmark date for a small west Cavan club.
Since the arrival of trainer Phelim Plunkett to the club in early 2006, Drumlane have gained promotion to Division One, as well as reaching last year’s Intermediate Championship semi-final where they were narrowly beaten by eventual champions Drumalee. This is opposed to the previous year where they had to fight to escape relegation from both Division Two and the Intermediate Championship.
“Phelim has been very positive in giving the players the confidence that they can play Division One football,” says club chairman Ciaran O’Reilly.
“As joint-team manager he has been essential to both last year’s promotion success and instilling a belief in the team that they can win the Intermediate Championship.”
So far Drumlane have struggled in top flight club football, but their progression to the championship semi-final stage again this year has proved that the Milltown-based side are a force to be reckoned with at Intermediate level.
Senior Championship contenders Gowna visited O’Connell Park in a league fixture in the summer and were beaten by the home side by four points, a result which provoked shock waves throughout the county.
“The fact that we had moved into a brand new Prunty pitch made a huge difference to our home form last year,” explains O’Reilly.
“As for the Gowna victory, I think the fact that we had taken such a beating to Drumalee the previous day out was the factor there. The team played out of their skins that day and it was a great lift for them.”
However, in spite of the senior team’s impressive league run last year they have had one main focus since their promotion from Junior in 1999 – the Intermediate Championship.
Since ’99 four different team managements have tried to bring the club Intermediate glory and have all fell at the quarter final stage. Now with Plunkett and co-manager and avid clubman Paul Fitzpatrick getting the team to the semi-final stage at the first attempt, hopes are high in the club that they could surprise a few and land this year’s IFC crown.
As far as the underage scene is concerned, the future looks as bright as ever with Dane O’Dowd progressing through county minor and now a regular on Drumlane’s senior team, as well county Under 16 sharpshooter Darragh Seagrave (son of renowned county referee Brian) who has impressed for his county and with the Brock panel in St. Patrick’s College this year.
It will not be long before Seagrave and other young talents through the club will be pulling on a senior jersey in aid of the west Cavan side’s cause.
“Many small rural clubs you get in this county have good players coming through, we have a small minor panel who defeated Ballinagh in the league early this year and Ballinagh went on to win the league final recently,” expresses O’Reilly.
“With regards to the future of the club, in the short-term we’re in a very tight fight to maintain our Division One status, and long-term we will be looking to avoid the drop-off level that occurs in this county with players after minor level.”
- Ladies Football