By Shaun Casey
LIATROIM opened their Ulster account with an impressive victory over Fermanagh side Teemore Shamrocks last weekend but they don’t have any time to rest on their laurels as focus swiftly shifts towards the next challenge.
Paddy Murray’s men are straight back into action this weekend as they take on Killanny of Monaghan in Páirc Esler as part of an interesting Down and Monaghan double-header, with Kilcoo locking horns with Scotstown in the main event. That’s just the luck of the draw.
“It is what it is,” said Liatroim boss Murray ahead of Sunday’s quarter-final. “It’s a drawback for getting drawn into the preliminary round.
“We had forced changes in that match just from the county final and after assessing the boys this week, we’re probably going to have a number of forced changes this weekend again.
“Had we got another week in between games then we probably could have nursed a few boys back. Not only that but Killanny were fit to sit in the stands in Brewster Park last Sunday and sit and observe the two teams.
“Obviously there’s very little we can do in a week in terms of getting a look at them so we’ll just have to back ourselves and see what we can do.
“They’ve got an extra week on us; I think that’s three weeks then from their county final whereas we’re nursing a few boys back that started last weekend but possibly two of them won’t start on Sunday.
“Whereas Killanny have obviously had the opportunity to nurse whatever injuries they might have had, I don’t think they did get any in the county final, so they’ll have a clean bill of health.
“They go into the game as firm favourites, they’re fresh. It’s not as if we could have taken certain individuals off and try to hide what we were doing. We were fully exposed last Sunday in order to get the win.”
Still, Liatroim have the advantage of having played and won a game in the competition and while it has its drawbacks, Murray was delighted for his men to get a good start. Goals win games and Liatroim raised three green flags in their 3-6 to 0-4 victory.
“To be honest all you can do is look at the previous game and in the county final (against Rostrevor), we thought we got off to a slow start, we were just a bit sluggish,” added the Kilcoo native.
“We felt we needed to address it and we did address it in the first half against Teemore and we put together a good performance in the first half and everything we planned beforehand, the boys executed it.
“We got our match-ups right on the day and I think we shot six wides in the first half of the county final while last weekend we only shot six wides in all, but we actually created more chances.”