Ulster dream continues for Moy.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

MOY'S provincial odyssey continues this weekend when they take on Derry side Newbridge in the Ulster Club Intermediate Football Championship semi-final.

The paths to the penultimate stage have contrasted dramatically, with the Tyrone champions carving out a narrow one point win over Carrickmacross, while the Oak Leafers cruised to success against Belcoo, finishing with a massive 12 points margin.

The Tir na nOgs are preparing themselves for another closely contested encounter at the Athletic Grounds on Sunday, and they are well equipped for a tight contest.

Sean and Colm Cavanagh, along with Harry Loughran, give them star quality, and with Tommy McNicholl, Tom Loughran, Ryan Coleman and skipper Eunan Deeney all displaying exceptional form, they will approach the tie confidently.

But a Newbridge side that was playing senior football last season has strength in all sectors.

Eamon Burke and Kevin Sweeney, both goal-scorers in the last round, carry the attacking threat, while team captain Michael Bateson is a driving force at midfield for the O'Leary's.

Moy manager Audi Kelly is preparing for a real battle against a quality side managed by former Derry star Paddy Bradley.

"Any team that's being coached by Paddy Bradley is going to be a top team," he said.

"He's there to take this team to the very top level, so we know it's going to be a really tough battle.

"But we'll prepare diligently for it in the same way as we did for the Carrickmacross game." Kelly is demanding improvements from the last outing, in which his players performed with pride and passion, but almost lost out to the Monaghan champions.

"We know it's going to take a big, big performance, and a better performance, if it's going to take us across the line.

"We 're going to have to improve an awful lot if we're to overcome Newbridge.

"We had four attacks in the early part of the second half that we looked like we could get a score off, and we gave simple ball away, so that will be one particular area that we'll want to clean our game up on." Moy have strength in depth, an asset that is essential in the modern game, and Kelly acknowledges that he has selection issues to deal with in the days ahead.

"All the boys that came off the bench did a superb job for us. Some of those boys have been pushing really hard for their place this last couple of games, they have waited patiently.

And that gives us a headache for selection the next day." However, the Moy boss is confident that if his players give their all, as they did against Carrickmacross, they can reach the Ulster final.

"That was one of the hardest games that I've ever come through. This Carrickmacross team have won three Intermediate Championships, there Intermediate Leagues and a Senior Lea gue.

"So they're a top team, and we knew it was going to go down to the wire. We were just thankful that we finished on top at the finish.

"It was a typical Ulster Club game. You have to give credit to Carrickmacross, they threw everything at it at the end to try and get that equaliser, and our boys dug in. It wasn't pretty, but we did enough to get over the line

"We knew that if we gave that team any time and space on the ball, they were going to get scores, for they have top forwards. So any time they had a man looking to get a shot off, we had two or three Moy men that were really putting in the effort to double-team them and put pressure on the kick."

Tattyreagh are also in Ulster action this weekend, hoping to make it a Tyrone double when they face Naomh Colmcille of Donegal at Celtic Park.

Their manager, Brackaville man Stephen McHugh, is gearing up for a tough battle against a quality Donegal outfit.

"You're playing the quality sides and the further you go, the harder it gets," he said.

"This Donegal team is going to be strong, so we need to be ready for them.

"It's about getting the preparation right, getting players' heads focused and as much as they have to work hard, they must enjoy the occasion." McHugh believes a stylish win over Currin of Monaghan in the quarter-final will have boosted his players' confidence significantly.

"That was a quality Monaghan side, and they wanted it as much as we did.

"It was a great display for Junior football. I actually enjoyed the game. There was great movement, it was a physical, quick moving tame, some great talent on both sides.

"In the second half we stepped it up from what we did against Owen Roes in the county final.

"I thought Jack McCarron was exceptional, and their number eleven, Smyth, was exceptional too.

"It was a hard-fought battle, and we came out on top. I thought we were the better side.

"When we move a ball through the hands, we will open up teams, and the quality of the finishes, all three goals were top notch quality.

"The one in the first half brought us back into the game, got us settled, the second one brought us back into the game as well, but the third one just sealed the game for us."


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