By Shaun Casey
THE mantra all season long in the Crossmaglen changing room has to be the hardest working team and that effort has paid off so far for the Rangers, but, as Jamie Clarke warns, they’re not done yet.
They added a further county title to their collection with a 12-point win over Clan na Gael and now they face into the familiar territory of the Ulster Club Championship. A mouth-watering clash with Tyrone champions Trillick awaits.
“We’re just keen to work hard, that’s been our ethos from the start of the year is to be the hardest working team,” said Crossmaglen captain Jamie Clarke.
“It’s funny, you could even tell that the celebrations on Monday (after the county final) dried up pretty quick because boys are keen to get back at it and, hopefully, we’re not done yet.
“We watched Trillick in the final and we were very impressed with their setup, they’re have a really good shape at the back, very strong and very fast and broke out at speed.
“Even into extra-time they looked a lot fitter than Errigal Ciaran and I know Jody Gormley from playing in the Abbey way back about 15 years ago, he’ll have them well-schooled and it’s going to be a tough game going up to Omagh.
“They have a lot of quality players like the Brennans (Rory and Lee) and Richie Donnelly and a lot of youths and a lot of legs that are able to run all day. It’s Tyrone in the Ulster Championship, it’s going to be tight.
“I suppose it was nice to get the extra week. Last year it was a pretty quick turnaround so we’re preparing now, and we’ll start to focus on Trillick.”
Armagh and Tyrone are historically age-old rivals and even at club level, each county is keen to get one over the other. It’s a double header to look forward to in Omagh with Armagh and Tyrone teams locking horns at intermediate and senior level. Pomeroy take on St Patrick’s Cullyhanna before Trillick and Crossmaglen do battle.
“The Ulster Club Championship is an amazing tournament,” added Clarke.
“I suppose Omagh with the way the weather is I just hope it holds up, but we’ll control what we can control and focus on ourselves.
“We’ll probably be watching a lot of video on Trillick and seeing how we can break them down because we’ve always been focused on going and winning the game rather than sitting back and trying to steal it so we’re going up there to win.
“Watching their game, you could see the celebrations and how much it means to the people of their club, they’re a rural club and they were out celebrating in force and I’m sure they’ll have the whole of Tyrone behind them because their mad for their football up there in Tyrone.
“There’s going to be a huge crowd at it, a big atmosphere and essentially it’s still a Tyrone against Armagh game so it’s something that we’re looking forward to.”