By Shaun Casey
CULLOVILLE’S three-point win over Belleek last Sunday not only stretched their winning streak to seven games, but saw them earn promotion to Division 2A and capture the league title as well.
All eyes will turn to the championship now coming up in two weeks’ time, and last year’s beaten finalists will hope to go one better this time around.
Starman Colm Watters believes that the momentum built up through the league is the best preparation ahead of the business end of the season.
“(In) the last four games, we were tested fairly well, it went down to a score or two and it went down to the last five minutes,” said Watters. “It’s those games where we were really tested in the last two games against Forkhill and Belleek. They were great preparation going into the championship and we’re delighted to come out the right side of them.
“We played Belleek in the first round in the league, and we were down a few guys that day, but I think Belleek won it by a point and they were full value for their win.
“We knew they have quality about them right across the field, they work hard, they’re well conditioned.
“We knew it was going to go right down to the wire even though in the first half we pulled into a bit of a lead but we’ve enough experience behind us to know even if you do get ahead, a team’s always going to get a purple patch. It’s great preparation to be able to ride that out and come out the right side in the end so that’s satisfying.
“We’ve Keady now in two weeks, we played them twice in the league, they’re hard-working, they have quality, so we’ll be under no illusions, it’s going to be a tough game.
“In the games we played them in the league they were short a few guys, so they’ll be ready.”
The Blues were the surprise package in last year’s championship, reaching the final having been relegated from Division 2A.
“It even goes back further than that, we’ve brought in a couple of very good young lads and there’s more to come hopefully behind that. Like a lot of teams, exiting the Coronavirus era, coming out of that, it took us a while to get a bit of momentum together.
“Even though we got relegated last year, we sort of were starting to head in the right direction before we started the championship. We got boys back onto the field, Niall (Rowland) back and that added momentum.
“We got a bit of a run in the championship and rode that wave and enjoyed it. The boys really enjoyed playing with each other, we enjoyed that journey. Unfortunately, we were relegated but we embraced the challenge that Division 2B presented and as much as possible we enjoyed our football.
“We try to play positive football, work hard and I suppose last year whet the appetite for this year and it’s positive going into the championship.
“We’ll not get carried away because we came into the championship last year as underdogs and we used that to our advantage. We’ll take it one game at a time and that’s Keady, and we’ll settle down and work hard towards that.”