By Michael McMullan
SLEACHT Néill must back up their win over Ballinderry when they visit Loup this Saturday (5.30pm) insists manager Mark Doran.
The Emmet’s have taken a while to get motoring in this year’s championship with a narrow defeat atthe hands of Magherafelt followingup a draw at Steelstown in roundone.
Shane McGuigan bagged 1-4 as they saw off Ballinderry (1-19 to 0-7) last weekend and Doran highlighted the importance of the victory.
“I am a believer in winning as many games as you can but the main focus at the start of the year was to get to the quarter-final, getting to the knock-outs stages,” Doran said.
The defeat at Rossa Park effectively left Sleacht Néill staring into knock-out football earlier than anticipated with only four teams from seven qualifying for the last eight.
“If Ballinderry had come here and beat us, we’d have been under serious pressure,” Doran said minutes after Saturday’s win at Emmet Park.
“We got the win, but we need to go and back it up next week. If we don’t back it up then we are back fighting for our lives.
“We are under no illusions; Loup in the Loup is going to be very tough,” added Doran, referring to the teams ending level in the league meeting.
“They should’ve beat us. I watched them in their first (championship group) game against Magherafelt and after 50 minutes you’d have thought Loup was going to beat them.
“They went three up and had a chance to go four up and missed it, then Magherafelt got back down the field.
“Loup is going to be a massive test. Would what we did today be good enough for Loup next week? Definitely not, but it is a work in progress
“We asked for a performance today, we asked them to get two points and we not hope to build on it
“Today wasn’t perfect, there were a lot of mistakes and a lot of turnovers we hope we can improve on for the next day.”
Doran took over from outgoing manager Paul Bradley at the start of this season and admits his side were lucky to get out of Steelstown with a draw.
There was disappointment after the Magherafelt game as he felt they left it behind them.
Early goals had them six points clear before Rossa shot themselves back into the game.
Doran, who led Ballybay to glory in Monaghan last season, felt both teams missed chances.
“I am a firm believer in the best team always wins and, on the day, Magherafelt were just better,” he added.
“After a defeat you are not as bad as everybody thinks you are and it’s the same after you win, you’re not just as good as everybody thinks you are. It’s somewhere in between.
“It’s early stages and we have integrated a few players back. It was good to get the win today, it was probably a tough two weeks since the Magherafelt game.
“We are still only sitting with three points after three games, so next Saturday against Loup is another big game for us.”