Clogher Valley rugby club look to seal title with Donaghadee win
Wednesday, 12 March 2014
CLOGHER Valley coach Davy Black has called on his players to wrap up the Qualifying One League title with victory away to Donaghadee tomorrow night (Wednesday).
The men from the Cran are just one win away from securing their second league title in three seasons and have two opportunities to clinch the title.
Winning the league trophy would give Clogher Valley a second opportunity to make it up to All-Ireland League level as it would mean another crack at the All-Ireland playoffs.
While Valley have the cushion of knowing they can also seal the title on Saturday away to Cooke, Davy is keen to see his players seal the deal as quickly as possible.
“We know what's ahead of us and what needs to be done," says Davy. "We'll definitely be working hard to get it over and done with, but we know it's not going to be easy and they're not going to lie down for us.
“We want to get it done and dusted and we'll be giving 100 per cent because we don't want to leave it up to the game on Saturday.
“You want to be going to Cooke with the title won and we could do without adding more pressure on ourselves."
Clogher Valley have been verging on unstoppable in the league over the past few months.
After a couple of disappointing defeats in the early stages of the campaign, which were at least in part attributable to having the bulk of the squad out injured, the men from the Cran have won 11 consecutive league matches.
That continued fine form was further exhibited on Saturday with a 31-0 trouncing of Dromore, with David Sharkey (pictured right) touching down a hat trick of tries.
And the opportunity to clinch the league title will go some way towards atoning for the biggest disappointment of the season thus far - defeat in the All-Ireland Junior Cup final five weeks ago to Leinster side Enniscorthy.
“We have knuckled down and worked hard since that defeat to Enniscorthy. We know we didn't do ourselves justice that day and we have tried to rectify that in the last few weeks.
“It's still very raw and we are looking forward to this game against Donaghadee to try and put that behind us a bit."
If Clogher Valley overcome tomorrow night's opponents, that will allow them to set up a an All-Ireland Qualifier clash with Bray Wanderers in Dublin on th 29th of March.
Should that turn out to be the case, it will be sandwiched in the middle of another very tough run of fixtures, as Valley take on Ballymena IIs in the semi final of the Towns' Cup the week before, while two more All-Ireland Qualifier ties will await them after the hoped trip to Dublin.
But Davy is refusing to get ahead of himself and is simply focusing on the task in hand.
“Obviously if we win then you have the play offs," he says, "but we're not in the play offs and we'll certainly not be putting the cart before the horse."
A key feature of Clogher Valley's success this year has been the added depth evident within the ranks as a new batch of young players have come through and made their mark, and Davy says claims that his side are ageing are just plain wrong.
“The team has been training well, they are in good form and thankfully we are not too bad for injuries and everyone is vying for places. There's real competition for places and that's healthy.
“It's bee talked about for yeard that Clogher Valley is an ageing team, but we aren't, we are bringing the youth through really well.
“The front row is young, and so is the second row and we have a young fella Alastair Trenier coming through as well in the back row and our backs are quite young too."
Regardless of age, Valley fans will be hoping for a vintage performance from the Clogher men come tomorrow night.
* Clogher Valley will hope to seal the Qualifying One League title tomorrow night away to Donaghadee, Wednesday, 12th March. Kick off for the potential title decider is at 7.45pm.
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