Sports

Sharpshooter McGarrity ready to Aid Rock cause

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Sharpshooter McGarrity ready to Aid Rock cause thumbnailAidan McGarrity will be aiming to fire Rock to glory this weekend.

AIDAN McGarrity is the attacking ace who could lead Rock to provincial glory this weekend.

He has scored 4-40 in seven championship games in Tyrone and Ulster, underlining his talent as one of the most prolific finishers in the county.

But the 24-year-old believes a solid defence could be the key to success at Pairc Esler.

“We got relegated last year and that was very disappointing, but building from the back and the relentless workrate of players out the field has been the one consistent team from all the time I have been playing.

“We have never had any problems in that department at any stage," he said.

Rock have had just a trickle of players stepping up to senior level in recent seasons, but McGarrity is confident that is about to change for the better.

“We haven't had that many people coming through, but you get a sense that it's going to change over the next three or four years.

“There's a wave of good players coming through from the U16s and Minors that's going to be playing for the Rock."

Centenary celebrations have been ongoing since the beginning of the year, with a gala dinner planned for the weekend after next.

Another attacking master-class from Aidan McGarrity this Sunday could add something special to the festivities.

“I remember the first time the Rock was in this competition in 2007, but it's that bit more special now in the centenary year.

“We have so many things planned for the centenary year celebrations, but this wasn't one of them. It's just one of those things that has happened, we have kept winning.

“So out of the three that the Rock has been involved in, I think everyone would say this is the most special, considering the year that it's in."

Meanwhile, Adrian Corrigan, who won a Tyrone Junior Championship medal in 1982, is now a member of the management team, along with Adrian Nugent and Eunan McGinn.

“I played in the 1982 Junior Championship final, and that was a very big thing for a small club," said Corrigan.

“There was no Ulster Championship then, but now these lads have that, and it's great for them.

“It's great for the younger players in the club as well, because they're going to these matches, and that's where they want to be.

And that's the aim of the club, to progress the club and make sure that the young lads coming through have somebody to look up to, and at the minute the players that we have are setting a good example."

Irrespective of the outcome of Sunday's game, Corrigan insists its' vital that Rock establish themselves as an Intermediate club within Tyrone.

“The priority for us, coming in as a new management team, Adrian, Eunan and myself, was to get out of Division Three.

“That's easier said than done. A lot of work has gone into it, right from January when we were starting. I remember we had a conversation in January, that we wanted to be playing football in November.

“Now that we are, it's going to be great for the lads, because it gives them that confidence to hopefully next year go into Intermediate and to stay there. that's what we want to do.

“And if you're playing Intermediate, it gives the younger boys in the club, minors coming through, the feeling that that's where they want to be as well."

It took the new management team some time to develop a formula with the players and start getting results.

“It took the boys a while to get used to us, and it took us a wee while to get used to them.

“The league wasn't going very well, we had a few bad results, but after one of those results, we did get together as a group, and we decided, okay, maybe the league is not going to go for us this year, but the championship was still there.

“And it's all credit to the lads. We had a few injuries at that time as well, but big players have come back in, and the other lads all around them have responded.

“I have had a lot of sessions with them, and the one thing you can say about this group, no matter what you ask them to do, they will do it. They never question a thing, they have been through a good few rough nights, and nobody ever pulls out.

“One of the things we said when we came in as management is that we would bring young boys through, and we have done that.

“The longer we have gone on in the competition, the more time those lads are getting. Even if it's five or ten minutes, it's going to stand to them next year."

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