By Shaun Casey
ON both occasions Liatroim and Rostrevor met in the league, the two sides couldn’t be separated and that perhaps provides the best insight into what can be expected in Saturday’s Intermediate final (Páirc Esler, 5pm).
However, it was their two championship clashes last season that stick with Liatroim. Rostrevor were three-point winners in the opening round before picking up a five-point victory in the semi-final.
Rostrevor went on to compete in the decider, while Liatroim cursed their luck all winter long.
But Paddy Murray’s men have went one step further this season, in his first year in charge, and will battle it out with the Reds for the WJ Farrell Cup.
“I don’t think there’s any particular added excitement, it’s a club that’s going on all fronts,” said Murray ahead of Saturday’s showpiece.
“I know every club’s the same, there’s a big buzz in the summertime but the club is busy from January, February, all winter and from spring to summer and it’s still buzzing at the moment. The boys are taking it in their stride.
“Last year, obviously Rostrevor turned them over and they did think they left that particularly game behind. Myself and Mick (Sean Michael Johnston) weren’t involved but in the post-season interviews I had with the players, collectively, they were all very disappointed with how the championship panned out.
“They do want to rectify that this year and it’s just a coincidence that it’s Rostrevor in the final. They just want to give a better account of themselves, and they have the individuals and the team to compete and should be competing at the latter stages of the championship.”
Being a dual club has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Last Sunday, the Liatroim hurlers lost out to Ballycran in the semi-final of the championship after a titanic tussle and a number of the players will line out in Páirc Esler this weekend.
The momentum carried through the week-on-week approach can be huge, but that high-level intensity zaps energy from the legs, bodies and minds. Murray believes the club has done everything in its power to give their players the best opportunity to perform.
“A lot of a lot of it is down to just pure luck,” added Murray. “You could pick up an injury at an in-house match, you could actually pick up an injury at work, as we all know.
“But foresight helps you in the sense that you know they’re going into a competitive game at the end of the weekend.
“We were able to put in place certain individuals to be able to aid the recovery the next day. That’s simply going down to the beach or bringing people in with the expertise to nurse the boys back and have them back on the field.
“It’s a credit to their conditioning to be brutally honest, and having the foresight to know that this is going to happen down the line, being proactive not reactive about it. The lads themselves take that responsibility on, it’s just a case of providing it for them.”