Sports

Burns hopes luck holds

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Burns hopes luck holds thumbnailOllie McCreesh will be an important cog for Pomeroy this weekend.

POMEROY defender Brendan Burns has appreciated the rub of the green at various times throughout a tumultuous season as the Plunketts veered towards an Ulster final.

They rode their luck at various stages, but always managed to produce the goods when it mattered.

Now they stand just 60 minutes away from a second provincial title, and should fortune favour them at Pairc Esler on Sunday, they will be celebrating once again.

“It just comes down to a wee bit of luck at times, and thankfully this year we have got luck at the right times," he said.

“It just takes a bit of time and hard work, learning from our mistakes. In other years we have been playing as well at times but we just maybe haven't got he luck, whereas this year things have fallen into place for us. It takes time to develop and it takes a bit of luck as well."

Pomeroy have come through some tough battles in the Tyrone championship and in the Ulster series, growing in confidence and character along the way.

“It's been a great journey so far, so hopefully we can keep it going."

Burns is part of a defence which gives little away, but there have been difficult times, such as the Ulster semi-final against Derry champions Castledawson.

“The defence has been going well so far, but the last day against Castledawson, we struggled for a bit. But thankfully it came together in the end."

After losing both midfielders in the first half, the Plunketts fell six points behind, but reorganised and staged a courageous comeback to win by two with a performance that has done wonders for self-belief.

“It's a big thing mentally. The subs really added to it, and it gives you confidence to know that when somebody does go off, you have men on the bench to cover and take the reins, and thankfully the last day, they pulled the game out of the bag for us.

“There's been a lot of hard work put in all year and a lot of effort. A lot of us lads have grown up together, and we live close by, so we're close friends, and that transcends on to the pitch.

“We just need to keep working hard, and hopefully we can keep our biggest performance for Sunday."

The 23-year-old engineer is upbeat about the future of an ambitious club, and his confidence is based on the quality of coaching that is taking place not just at Plunkett Park, but in local schools as well.

“There's great coaching going on in the club, and a lot of the lads go to school either in Dungannon or Cookstown, and there's great coaches in the schools."

The Pomeroy community is already on a high, and has been since centenary celebrations started at the turn of the year.

The footballers have played their part in ensuring that the milestone is honoured in the best possible fashion, and they will continue to do so this weekend.

“It would mean a lot to win it, it would reward all the hard work. Not just for the players, but I think it would give the community a great lift," said the former Tyrone U21 captain.

“Pomeroy got to the All-Ireland stage in 2004, so people got a taste of that success then, and they would love it again.

“And it would mean a lot for the younger people going to watch. I remember myself watching the Pomeroy team of 2003 and 2004, and that inspired the generation of player that's playing now, and hopefully it can inspire another generation of players coming through."

The current team contains a handful of players who won Ulster IFC medals in 2004, and they have key roles to play against Donaghmoyne.

“They're experienced players, and whenever things were not going well, they guided us through and showed us the way.

“The Tyrone championship was very tough, and against Arva and Castledawson, we had very tough games, and I'm sure Donaghmoyne are going to be equally as tough as any other team."

Plunkett Park is one of the county's prime venues for big championship games, but the Pomeroy players have been unable to test themselves against the big teams that battle it out in O'Neill Cup ties at the venue.

Next year, however, all that will change when they make their return to senior football.

“It will be nice to test ourselves against the biggest teams and see where we're at," said Burns.

“It's not nice when you sitting watching when the big crowds are coming to Pomeroy, and we're thinking, we should be playing in those big game ourselves."

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