NEFL | Muirhevnamor ready to make history in Navan on Sunday
Blues will win Premier Division title if they beat Navan Cosmos
Muirhevnamor will rewrite the history books if they can take the three points on offer against Navan Cosmos at the NEFL Grounds on Sunday morning.
A win would see the Blues become the first club ever to win the North East Football League (MDL) Premier Division trophy after clinching promotion from Division One 12 months earlier.
You could expect some players to fold in that situation but for the players in this Muirhevnamor team, it’s just another game, and another title to be won.
“If somebody had said at the start of the season that we’d be going to Navan on the last day, looking for three points to win the title then most people would have laughed,” said Muirhevnamor manager Tiarnan Mulvenna.
“Everybody doubts Muirhevnamor,” he continued. “When Muirhevnamor win the Winter League, people say it’s too easy. When they win the Summer League or the McConville Cup it’s the same.
“When the lads won promotion from Division One last year, people were saying ‘ah, sure it’s only the first division’. If we win this, people might have to say something different!”
There are plenty of permutations around Sunday’s game. A win for Muirhevnamor would see the title return to Dundalk with no questions asked.
It gets a little bit trickier after that. A draw would see Mulvenna’s side — at the very least — enter into a title play-off against the winner of the Bellurgan United and Newfoundwell fixture that takes place next Wednesday night.
A draw — or even a defeat — on Sunday, however, would still be enough for Muirhevnamor, provided there is no winner from the Bellurgan, Newfoundwell encounter. In that sense, there is some room for manoeuvre for Muirhevnamor but Mulvenna says three points is his sole target.
“No other team tries to win games as much as we do,” he said. “We went to Newfoundwell earlier in the season and beat them 4–1 and we won in Bellurgan aswell so it’s in our nature to attack.
“Things might change slightly during a game when the other team has the ball but we’ll definitely be going out to win the game on Sunday and we know that if we can keep a clean sheet we have the firepower to score anywhere.”
The Mor played Rampart Celtic in a friendly on Tuesday and will train on Friday night but their plans have been disrupted somewhat by the news that defender Paul Mallon and ace striker Billy Smith will miss the clash after accumulating eight yellow cards.
“We only found out a few days ago,” said Mulvenna. “They’re two big players for us but we’ve had to manage without Billy twice already this season and we’ve won both games so we’ll be okay.”
There is more than enough know-how and experience in the Muirhevnamor dressing room to get them over the line.
Mickey O’Kane, Chris Caulfield and Paudie Hearty are all Premier Division winners from their time at Woodview Celtic while Mulvenna was also part of Gavin McKeever’s side that swept all before them back in 2012.
The 28-year-old took charge of his local club at the start of the season and while the transition from player to manager can be difficult for some to adapt to, he said the players, many of whom are former teammates, have made it easy.
“I’ve really enjoyed it,’ he said. “The lads have done everything we’ve asked of them and they’ve put in loads of work that nobody would really see behind the scenes.
“We’ve trained twice a week and they’ve all looked after themselves really well so they deserve huge credit. Hopefully, they get their reward on Sunday.”
A big crowd is expected to cheer Muirhevnamor on in Navan. The club is running buses to the game and Mulvenna has called on the people of the Holy Family parish — and all football fans from the town itself — to get behind his side.
“We’ll need a big support behind us and I really hope we get it,” said Mulvenna.
“Hopefully people recognise what could happen if we win the game,” he added. “Muirhevnamor have won 10 or 11 McConville Cups in the Summer League but winning the NEFL Premier Division would be the biggest achievement in the club’s history.”