Derrygonnelly Harps have contested the last seven Fermanagh Senior Football Championship finals, winning six of them and losing in the 2020 decider to St Joseph’s, Ederney.
But if county honours have come thick and fast, it has been a rather different story on the Ulster Club Championship scene where the Harps have found the going exceedingly tough.
Yet right now there is renewed optimism within their camp as they prepare for next month’s provincial club decider against current title holders Kilcoo.
For the Harps, this will be a gigantic test and no one is more aware of this than Shane McGullion, the two-goal hero from their semi-final victory over Clann Eireann.
The Erne County champions had the match all but wrapped up in a stunning 12-minute spell early in the first half during which McGullion almost single-handedly devastated the Armagh title holders.
But he is acutely aware that Kilcoo will now be a much different proposition.
“We came out of the blocks really quickly against Clann Eireann and enjoyed a great start and built from there, but this will be our sixth year playing in the Ulster Club series and now that we have reached the final we desperately want to prove ourselves. We have to be in tune for this one,” said McGullion.
“We like to think that we can compete against the best at this stage. It would be our aim to give the final a good rattle and hopefully we will come out on the right side of things.”
McGullion reveals that the Harps have “kept their heads down over Christmas” as they maintain a strong focus on what will be one of the biggest games in their history. His brother Stephen, Ryan Jones, Gary McKenna, Declan Cassidy and Garvan Jones are among other key players in the side.
“The important thing from our perspective is that we are physically and mentally right for this game. Kilcoo have gained vast experience in the Ulster Club Championship but we want to do ourselves justice on this occasion. We kept our heads down over Christmas as we continue to prepare as best we can for what is a huge match for us,” said McGullion.
His views are echoed by Harps joint-manager Mick Glynn, who admits that he had been hopeful the team would surmount the Clann Eireann challenge.
And although his side did manage to come out on top by 3-11 to 1-11, the Lurgan side’s vibrant second-half offering was not lost on Glynn.
“They came out strongly after the break but there is a lesson for us there and that is that we must never get complacent. I’m not saying we were complacent in that game but we know for sure that we have to focus sharply throughout a game,” said Glynn.
“”We are now in the Ulster Club final and when you get to a final you want to win it. We know what Kilcoo’s track record is like and how experienced they are in the Ulster Club series.”
It is clear that Derrygonnelly Harps are particularly keen to create their own slice of history on the Ulster stage but to do that they will have to scale a new peak in terms of performance if they are to prevent Mickey Moran’s side from collecting their second provincial crown.
Like Derrygonnelly, Kilcoo had to exercise patience before they got their hands on the provincial trophy and the indications are that they will certainly not surrender the silverware without a tenacious struggle.