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Clann Eireann final appearance a result of years of hard work

BY KIERAN LYNCH

THIS Sunday, Clann Éireann play in the senior county final for the first time since 1968. Manager Tommy Coleman believes his team’s achievement is due to a long-term focus on underage success, that the club started two decades ago.

“We’re in the final of the senior championship for the first time in 53 years. This is something that has been aimed at over the last 20 years. A lot of these lads started off their football at five or six years of age and there’s been a whole lot of hard work put into them by a lot of great Clann Éireann people and great volunteers who have worked tremendously hard.”

“Come Sunday, they will have played a massive part in getting these boys here. It’s not just the current management team, it’s about the whole club and the project that they set out on all those years ago.”

After such a long wait to get here, there’s a buzz around Clann Éireann right now, and Coleman says the excitement is not exclusive to just the club, but the entire Lurgan area.

“There’s a buzz, not just in the club but in the wider community around Lurgan from all the Gaels, with their goodwill messages. It’s been a long time since a Lurgan team was in the final. We’re all trying to push on and if we can make that step and get a senior championship, that will drive the town on, and will only lift the game in Lurgan even more. The whole area is just awash with excitement and buzz.”

If Clann Éireann are to lift the trophy on Sunday, they will need to be at the top of their game against Crossmaglen – a club Coleman has tremendous respect for.

“With Crossmaglen, we respect them, and they deserve everything that they’ve had. From the late ‘90s, they raised the bar and set the standard of club football in Ireland, and they brought it to another level. They’re back here in the final, by right again.”

Despite the high respect Coleman has for Crossmaglen, his team will not fear their opposition this weekend.

“They’re a well drilled, well organised side, but there’s one thing about having respect – there’s another thing about having fear. We believe in our own abilities, we’ll be positive going into this game and we’re going up there to win. No fear, but total respect for a great club.”

Coleman will hope that his side can play with freedom and seize an opportunity, 53 years in the making.

“I think it will be a good game of football, as both teams will go for it. I hope it’s an exciting game of football, and Clann Éireann come out on the right side of it, whether by one point or two points.”

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