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O'Flaherty over the moon as first final awaits Drumcliffe / Rosses Point

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Aaron O’Boyle of Coolera/Strandhill in action during the Homeland SFC semi-final with Drumcliffe/Rosses Point in Markievicz Park on Sunday. Pic: Donal Hackett

Aaron O’Boyle of Coolera/Strandhill in action during the Homeland SFC semi-final with Drumcliffe/Rosses Point in Markievicz Park on Sunday. Pic: Donal Hackett

Aaron O’Boyle of Coolera/Strandhill in action during the Homeland SFC semi-final with Drumcliffe/Rosses Point in Markievicz Park on Sunday. Pic: Donal Hackett

Drumcliffe/Rosses Point manager Fergal O'Flaherty said he was thrilled with his side reaching their first ever Senior football championship final after defeating Coolera/Strandhill on Saturday to book their place in the decider with holders Tourlestrane.

After their one point win over last year's finalists, the manager said it was a tight game which was what he expected going into it.

He told Cathal Mullaney; "Like, we would be familiar with Coolera/Strandhill the last number of years, they would have beaten us by a point last year and the previous year so we knew a fair bit of what to expect. We probably didn't play our best stuff in the first half, our shape was a bit off and they seemed to have a free man come up the field on the left hand side so we tried to address that in the second quarter of the game and it paid off, we got a couple of scores."

He said the Niall Colleary goal followed by a point for his side turned the game on its head.

"We had struggled I suppose on their kick out all day because they were getting them out short and we tried to constantly press up more men onto the full forward line so they wouldn't be kicking them out short.

"That kind of paid off in the last quarter when we put a bit of pressure on and eventually we started getting the ball in good positions where you could actually score from."

It's such a historic win for the North Sligo men as they now have a Senior football final to look forward to for the first time in their club's history.

The manager said although this wasn't mentioned in the lead up to the semi final. "It wasn't mentioned, like I am a Bunninadden man so I would be familiar with Drumcliffe but I wouldn't have realised that (first final) and I suppose it was dawning on me in the last few days in particular that this was a big occasion and to get to a final is great. I've lost one and I've won one and I'd rather be on the winning team in the final, you want to win them when you get there," Fergal said.

He said the 2 week break between the semi final and final was needed as Drumcliffe/Rosses Point have picked up a few injuries.

"There's a few bruised bodies after that game, so the two weeks will definitely be needed," he added.

Cathal Mullaney also spoke to Adrian McPartland, joint manager of Coolera/Strandhill after their narrow defeat to Drumcliffe/Rosses Point on Saturday in the Homeland SFC semi final in Markievicz Park.

Adrian said there was understandably disappointment in the Coolera/Strandhill camp following the defeat.

"There is massive disappointment, it's one of the worst I've nearly been in down there after a game. Just huge disappointment, a lot of work went in and we are absolutely devastated."

He said that Coolera/Strandhill were on top for long stages of the game.

"I thought we controlled the game for a good while, they got 3 points in the space of five minutes in the first half, we replied with two then.

"We started the second half the way we wanted but I'd say going into that water break was the most comfortable we've been in any game this year and just 30 seconds I suppose the goal and then the point straight after.

"It sucked the life out of us a bit but we still could have still got back, we had a few efforts that went wide but no point dominating for 45 minutes and losing."

The joint manager said in terms of the performance levels overall he was happy enough. "When we did the things we set out to do and stuck to the plan that was good but concentration trailed off a few times.

"Letting certain men go and I suppose overall it's 50/50, how could you be happy losing a semi final is another thing.

"Look the lads there are a serious bunch, I don't know how many changes from last year, 7 or eight that came in and it might sound strange to say it but it will do them the world of good in one way."

Without key players including Niall Murphy and Peter Laffey, some may have doubted Coolera/Strandhill's chances this year.

"Murph, Laffey, Mitchell, myself, Karol O'Neill, Mark Comerford, that's six gone from a senior final last year. Tough job getting management because of that, I'm not going to lie, people didn't want to come near Coolera because of that.

"Mitch stood up and took it and the lads showed what good footballers they are, they really did and I am proud of them young lads who came in. Hopefully they have got a taste of it now and know they will want further success to make up for today," Adrian added.

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