Only 60 minutes separates Davitts from making not a little bit of history, but one that will be remembered for as long as the men from the borderline towns of Ballindine and Irishtown play football. On Sunday in Tullamore, one more win and an All Ireland final beckons for the men in black and red next month.
Last year was finally a year when Davitts delivered in the intermediate championship. They were always a team fancied to make the break and always had the potential to do it, but yet they always somehow managed to find a way to come up short.
But 2011 put a stop to that and after clinging on to see off Burrishoole in McHale Park and delivering the coveted title, they were fearless. Rather than resting on their laurels and not being too bothered about the Connacht Championship, they went for it with gusto. Leitrim’s Melvin Gaels were seen off in the semi-final, then they hit for the far side of Roscommon where Padraig Pearses were accounted for in a stunning performance in brilliant early winter sunshine.
The performances of a number of the Davitts players was not lost on those in GAA circles last year and plenty of plaudits were given to the maturity they showed in navigating their way to the Mayo and intermediate titles. Captain Michael Conroy and centre-half back Colm Boyle were given call-ups to the Mayo squad at the start of the year and both started against Leitrim a fortnight ago, before going back to Davitts ahead of this weekend’s clash. Another player to stand out for them last year was Ronan McNamara; the former county minor and u21 man battled back from a number of bad knee injuries to drive on the side from the middle of the park. McNamara was ably supported by Paul Carey in that sector, while Aidan McTigue, David McDonagh and Keith Prendergast have all contributed to the attack.
The driving force behind the Davitts’ drive
While the players deserve the credit and have put in the effort to make sure they gain the plaudits, another person has been instrumental in shaping the trajectory the club now finds itself on. Galway man Pete Warren came in last year and got the side believing and putting in the effort on and off the field to ensure that they made the breakthrough in the intermediate championship and on Sunday, he could further cement his place in Davitts’ folklore going into the future.
Standing in their way are Eire Óg from Wicklow who had to see off the Louth, Offaly, and Kildare champions on their way to Sunday’s game. They were made battle hard by O’Raghallaighs in the Leinster last eight and by Confey in the final, coming out on top by two points at the end of each game. The club from Greystones are backboned by Wicklow players Darren Hayden at centre half forward and Stephen Kelly at centre half back. Hayden scored 0-11 over the course of their Leinster semi-final and final wins.
But if Davitts can recreate the performances they have put in in the latter part of their Mayo and Connacht success, they will have nothing to fear from the men from the Garden County. The game throws in at 2pm in Tullamore on Sunday.