Bredagh looking forward to clash with Cavan champions says Owen Costello
AN INFLUX of Belfast-based footballing talent from outside their boundaries, including Derry All-Ireland winner Enda Gormley, saw Bredagh win a junior championship in 2011 but when the ‘blow-ins’ left the bubble burst and the south Belfast club crashed back to Division Four in Down.
Since then the Cherryvale club has brought through a team of predominantly home grown players that has hauled itself back up the leagues, winning a first intermediate title in 2016 and repeating the feat again this year thanks to 3-13 to 1-17 win over Liatroim in a rollercoaster of a final.
Former Down defender Owen Costello is one of several survivors from the lean years in the basement division who is now looking forward to tomorrow’s Ulster Intermediate Championship quarter-final clash against Cavan champions Mullahoran.
“When I came into the team Jody Gormley (now the manager) and Enda Gormley were playing and then two-thirds of the team retired around the same time and we ended up getting relegated down to Division Four,” he recalled.
“From there it was home grown players and we moved up the ranks. Now nearly all of our starters are home grown so we have totally changed the dynamic of the team from six or seven years ago.”
After a hit-and-miss league campaign this year, Bredagh’s championship run got off to an uncertain start with defeat against Darragh Cross.
But the return of several players from injury saw Bredagh turn their season around on the back door route and wins over Drumaness and then Annaclone saw them through to the decider on October 21.
“Losing that first game was a real wake-up call for us,” Costello admitted.
“The first training we had after that we had a team huddle and everyone said what they had to say and things started clicking from there. We had a lot of injuries at the start of the year as well; we played four games in nine days because of the way the fixtures went after the bad weather and we ended up losing half our starters.
“It took until August before we got our full team out and then we started really clicking. Hopefully we can keep that going because we have a really tough game against Mullahoran.”
The Cavan champions were senior championship winners just six years ago when Bredagh were playing their football in Division Four. As well as winning the Intermediate title this year, ‘The Dreadnoughts’ were Division Two champions in the Breffni county.
“They are a pretty experienced team and Cavan football is pretty physical so they’ll be physical as well,” Costello predicted.
“It’s going to be tough. Playing away from home is always tough especially going to unfamiliar territory but it’s championship football and anything can happen. I’m looking forward to the game but I know it’s going to be a serious challenge, it’s the next level and every team we’re playing now are the champions of their county.
“We’re going down to Cavan and it’ll be a different style of football, so it’s the best of the best at this level but it’s a great way to test ourselves.”