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Brocagh boss expecting challengers Drumquin to raise their game

By Niall Gartland

BROCAGH boss John McGuckin isn’t reading too much into Drumquin’s underwhelming league form ahead of their Junior Championship first round meeting this Sunday afternoon.

The Wolfe Tones claimed only two victories from their 14 league matches, but McGuckin believes they haven’t become a bad team overnight, and it was only last year that they reached the semi-finals of the championship, losing to Drumragh.

Loughshore side Brocagh finished midtable, but league form often goes out the window when it comes to championship, so he’s expecting nothing easy this Sunday afternoon.

“It’s a 50/50 game as far as I see it, I wouldn’t read too much into their league form at the moment. We played them early on in the league, Sean McDonagh lined out even though he was injured at day, and they were beating us by 10 points after 25 minutes.

“They’re a very strong running team and were opening us up in the first 25 minutes and we couldn’t get to grips with them at all. We got a very fortuitous goal just before half-time. It sorta stunted their momentum and gave us a bit of belief and we ended up wining the game.

“They’ve a real good mixture of youth and experience at the moment, Liam Patterson and Ryan McCallion are still knocking about. I actually made my senior debut for Edendork against Drumquin in 1997 as a 16-year-old and Liam was already an established player for Drumquin at that stage.”

Brocagh have shown well this season. They’ve lost matches against championship contenders like Eskra, Cookstown, Drumragh, Urney and Derrytresk, but they’ve picked up plenty of wins on the way, and the only set-back was an outbreak of Covid in the camp.

“We got off to a decent start in the league and were going strong but we got hit with Covid. We have two young lads who actually got pretty sick and still aren’t back.

“We had the outbreak after we played Coalisland Thirds. We’d only been beaten once before that. We couldn’t field against Glenelly.

“We had the teams at the top of the table still to play so it was going well.

He continued: “We were winning games by a point or two that maybe in previous years we’d have lost, and our fitness was strong and we were finishing games strongly.

“But we got hit with that and the wheels came off a wee bit. We got a good result against Castlederg a couple of weeks ago, and we lost to Drumragh in our last game but it was a bit of a dead rubber.”

“We’ve had a few injuries to contend with as well, but we’ve done reasonably well, and we’re showing good character so I’m happy with how the lads are playing.”

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