BY KIERAN LYNCH
CARRICKCRUPPEN’S chances of gaining promotion via the league are slim according to manager Barry Flynn, but he says that their focus will now shift towards regaining the Intermediate Championship.
The Camlough side sit four points outside the top two league positions with four games remaining, and Flynn believes failure to defeat fellow promotion chasers St Paul’s last Friday night means that his side will fall short in the league.
“It was probably one that got away,” he said.
“We needed to win that game to hang in there, in terms of finishing in the top two of the league, but at the same time, I wouldn’t want us to be promoted without winning the championship. So, finishing second in the league is not really a good position to be in.
“Cullyhanna and St Paul’s will probably go and fight it out now, but we’ll turn our attention to the championship.”
Carrickcruppen won the Intermediate Championship title in 2021, and they will be right amongst the contenders to win it again this year.
“Our main focus has been to try and win the Intermediate Championship again,” said Flynn, who guidedthe team to that success two years ago.
“The group stages probably help in the sense that we can manage the rest of the league, without risking players who are carrying injuries, because as long as we stay in the top four, we’ll be happy because we’ll be seeded for the group stages in the draw.
“Leagues are for learning, and championships are for winning.”
In terms of learning, Flynn pointed to the youthful nature of his side, and he believes that the club have reason to be optimistic for the upcoming years.
“We have been learning things all throughout the league,” he said. “It’s probably well known that we have a young enough squad. We have taken another batch of minors into the squad – the boys who won the U-19 Division Two League last season are in. Ross Magee has been very good at the back, giving us another option.
“Those young lads are getting exposure to senior football; and behind that, our minors are in the top four in Division One, our u-16s are second in Division One, and we have a group of boys from the St Paul’s (High School, Bessbrook) Rannafast Cup winning team coming through.
“For Carrickcruppen, this is a long-term project. It will be another five or six years before we’re at our best, but we want to get to senior football.”