By Shaun Casey
ROSTREVOR are back in the Intermediate Championship decider where they’ll take on Liatroim, and coach Aidan Cole insists they are fully focused on this year.
Last year’s showpiece was disappointing for Benny Coulter’s side, who lost to underdogs Saval by three points.
While that hurt is still lingering in the back of their minds, Rostrevor reset at the start of the season and only have eyes for 2023.
“We knew it was going to be a dangerous game but felt that we under performed,” said Cole of last year’s final.
“This year has been about two things. One, initially there was a bit of a push to try and get promoted back to Division One, but it was clear after five or six games that wasn’t going to be a realistic outcome.
“The rest of the season was about maintaining Division Two status and then preparing ourselves for another tilt at winning the Intermediate Championship. I wouldn’t be embarrassed about saying that was our goal at the start of the season and it remains the goal.
“We have maybe five players that are playing in the final that didn’t feature last year so in many ways it’s a different team, different structure and I think when you take a team on in the first season there’s an element of hype with the new management team.
“There’s a higher level of expectation and I think this year we’ve really performed better as a unit. Obviously, winning a championship is a marker of success but it’s very hard to use a defeat to a different club in a different year to stimulate you to play against Liatroim.
“With some of the players, their experience last year will mean that they don’t want to be on the losing end again but much of it has just been about preparing ourselves.
“We’ll use last year as a bit of a guide of how things go when you don’t fulfill your full potential. But we’ve definitely reset from last year so whilst it’s in the back of our minds it’s not going to play much of a role this week in terms of our preparation.”
Cole reports that Rostrevor should have a full hand to pick from come the weekend.
“As things stand, we have a good bill of health,” he said.
“We had a difficult season. A lot of clubs, particularly Glenn, suffer from have county players but we’ve suffered on a different front in that three of our first team players were in America for nearly three months.
“Our league form reflected that, but we’ve got a nice blend of youth players coming through. Finn Murdock is an excellent defender and we’ve got very good senior players in the squad, Shaun Parr, Conor Fegan, Anthony Donnan, who are all in their 30s.
“That blend of youth and experience has been very good so thankfully as things stand, we have a full complement of players to pick from and that’s a nice luxury at this stage of the season.”