By Shaun Casey
AN opening day game away to your neighbours own patch always throws up it’s own challenges, but Clann Eireann convincingly saw off their Lurgan rivals St Peter’s to kickstart their championship charge.
The 2021 championship winners were 15 points better off in the end and head into the weekend expected to pick up another victory and another two points which will bring them one step closer to a guaranteed spot in the last eight.
“We go to Grange next week and then we’re home to Granemore,” said defender Sean McCarthy, who is a fan of the round robin format.
“It’s intense, we played today then we’re playing again in six days’ time against Grange and then maybe seven or eight days until we play Granemore. It’s intense but everyone is in the same boat.
“I think it’s good because if you’re only playing one championship game and you lose then that’s it over and you can be hard done by. We’ve been on the receiving end of it before and it’s just not a good way to go.
“At least this way you get at least three games, and you’re play three different teams and I think it really helps develop teams coming through maybe on the lower side of Division One or Division Two or Three.”
Division 1A league winners Clann Eireann are one of the favourites for the title, although McCarthy believes it’s an open championship and a number of teams can triumph.
“If you look at the league, the league could have gone anyway,” determined McCarthy. “You have a number of great teams, it’s definitely wide open.
“I’m looking around and it doesn’t really matter who you get, you know you’re going to be getting a quality side.
“There’s a lot of competition. Clan na Gael did well on Saturday night (drawing with Crossmaglen), Crossmaglen are Crossmaglen, they’re always going to be there or there abouts. Madden are on the up, Killeavy will definitely be gunning for the championship, any number of teams really.”
Conor Turbitt was the star of the show for Clann Eireann, scoring 0-10, but he isn’t on his own insists McCarthy. “There’s a lot more work goes into it than just giving it to ‘Turbo’.
“Granted he does a lot of work, but you have 14 other boys doing a lot of work as well and you know when Conor gets the ball, it’s brilliant.
“It’s not just a case of giving it to him and good luck. We understand that Conor is one of the best full forwards in Ireland at the moment so give it to him and you won’t go too far wrong.
“When ‘Turbo’ came back, and ‘TK’ (Tiernan Kelly) and Barry (McCambridge), they lifted the whole thing.
“They’re good leaders and they’re experienced, they talk well and then you’ve got the likes of Decky Leathem, Ryan Henderson, Conor McConville, Conan O’Connell. We have any number of boys that will step up and lead on the day.”