It’s not every weekend that a club can look forward to a crack at two league titles - in different age-groups.
Last Saturday, while Erne Wanderers’ youth team were battling it out with Letterkenny Rovers in the play-off for the Donegal Youth League title in Donegal Town, the club’s men’s team were in Rathmullan to play Glencar Celtic knowing that the right result would hand them the Saturday League title.
And while the youths came up short against a far-superior Letterkenny Rovers team, the senior team’s draw in Rathmullan was good enough to make up for that disappointment and secure a first ever league title in the Old Orchard Inn Division One of the Saturday League.
Saturday’s success was all the more impressive when one considers that Erne only came back into the Saturday League three years ago.
“We won Division Two on our very first season back,” team manager, Alan Dorrian explained. “Last year we were runners-up to Gweedore Celtic so we were determined to try and go one better this year. Thankfully that’s the way it turned out. We enjoyed a great start to the season and just took it on from there.”
That “great start” included wins away to Ramelton Mariners and Kilmacrennan Celtic and a home victory over Glencar Celtic. “It was the perfect way to get our season up and running,” Alan Dorrian added.
“In that first match in Ramelton, we had two 16-year-olds and a 17-year-old in the team and we beat them 3-2 which I still believe was our most impressive win of the season. When you get off to a good start like we did, you can build on that and take it on.
“The players knew there was a chance of some success and thankfully we managed to keep that good run going throughout the campaign.”
One of the goalscorers in the win in Kilmacrennan was Val Murray - a player who was among those to be singled out by his manager. “Val has been involved with this club for so long and it’s brilliant for him to win a first ever league title after all these years.
“Dermot Slevin is another player who has been with us for a long number of years. He played every game this season at centre midfield and has been superb. ‘Sticky’ Ward has 18 goals so far and has been brilliant as well.”
The title success was an emotional exerience for Alan and the Dorrian family. His dad, Lenny, was a well known player with Ballintra Rovers over the years and was also the manager of Erne Wanderers before his sudden passing at the age of 52 just over three years ago.
Alan took on the job of managing the team and his side includes two other Dorrians - his younger brothers, David who plays at centre half and Mark who plays up front.
Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Glencar Celtic means the league title is now secured but Wanderers still have the chance of more success and this weekend play Mulroy Celtic in the quarter finals of the Downtown Cup.
“We’re determined to do our best in this competition as well,” Alan pointed out. “It would be great to win the cup along with the league title and finish the season off with more success.”