Sports

Pomeroy look to reign over Castle

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Pomeroy look to reign over Castle thumbnailOllie McCreesh on the charge for Pomeroy

POMEROY are ready to take it to the next level, and their adventure continues at the Atheltic Grounds on Sunday when they take on Derry champions Castledawson in the Ulster Club Intermediate Football Championship semi-final.

The Plunketts have been here before, and they know the score, having won the provincial title back in 2004.

A handful of players who featured in that title-winning team of 12 years ago are still involved, and their experience is vital to the latest bid to conquer Ulster, according to team captain Hugh Pat McGeary.

“We still have a few of those men left, some of them starting in the team, and we're really glad to have them," he said.

“That experience is always valuable, and boys like that know how to win big championship games."

The scale of the task facing the Plunketts is clear, for Castledawson displayed extraordinary resilience in coming from behind to defeat Whitecross of Armagh in the quarter-final.

This victory was all the more impressive as Castledawson lost a handful of key men to injury and black cards at crucial stages.

They trailed by five points at half-time, but battled their way back to win by four.

But Pomeroy have also shown steel and courage throughout a tricky Tyrone championship, playing some terrific football along the way, and their quality shone brightly in their Ulster IFC quarter-final against Arva, when they coasted to a 1-16 to 0-7 win at Healy Park.

A solid defence is the bedrock of the Tyrone champions' game plan.

Brendan Burns, Ciaran McKenna, Hugh Pat McGeary and Denver Nugent are rock solid performers who have not let the team down this year, cutting out the threat of several highly rated attackers.

Exciting prospect Ryan Loughran forms an effective midfielder partnership with Brendan Cunningham, while up front, Kieran McGeary, Frank Burns and Chris Colhoun always carry a threat in terms of creativity and finishing power.

But skipper McGeary insisted that they can take nothing for granted and must be at a high state of alertness at all times, given the never-say-die mentality of their opponents.

 "We have to be ready for that", he stated.

We have met a lot of teams like that this year, the likes of Eskra and Aghyaran, who nearly nipped us with their never-say-die attitude.

“When you're playing teams like that, you can never fall asleep at all in a game."

Pomeroy's scintillating display against Cavan champions Arva highlighted a trend which has seen them improve with each championship game.

If they can maintain the form that has taken them this far, then there is every reason to expect that they will get the better of the Oak Leaf champions and book their place in a second Ulster final.

“We have been improving since the very first game against Aghyaran, and we're maybe clicking at just the right time.

“Hopefully we can keep that momentum going into the next game."

A new wave of exciting talent is making a major impact this season, none more so that 20-year-old midfielder Ryan Loughran, who scored five excellent points from play in the last round.

“Ryan is just excelling, this year especially," said McGeary.

He has been getting game time under his belt, which has really helped him come on.

“There's a lot of young boys starting to get a lot of game time and they're starting to excel.

“Being in championship football maybe helps that a bit more because they want to do all they can to get a place on the team."

The club's centenary celebrations have already been enhanced by a Tyrone title triumph.

The recent gala banquet not only reflected on the proud history of the Plunketts, but confidently anticipated future success.

“It was a really good night, and fair play to everybody in the club, they really put on an outstanding show." concluded McGeary.

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