By Shaun Casey
EXPERIENCE is key in the Ulster Club Championship, but it’s not necessarily an advantage this year says Scotstown boss David McCague.
The An Bhoth men have dominated the Monaghan club scene over the past decade, winning eight championships in 11 years and are no strangers to the provincial scene.
However, given the talent of the teams involved in the competition this season, experience may not count for too much says McCague, as his side take on Kilcoo away from home in Newry on Sunday (3.15pm).
“That’s the big prize for winning your championship, qualification to the Ulster Club Championship and it’s a fantastic competition with the weather, the pitches, the atmosphere at the games,” said the Scotstown boss.
“It’s great to be involved in it and we’re looking forward to it. The nature of this competition is that it’s one game at a time and that might sound cliché, but I think it’s true with the Ulster Club competition, you just can’t look past your first game.
“We’ve got a really, really big test ahead of us in Kilcoo and that’s really where our focus is at the minute.
“Everywhere you look there’s a lot of experience and we share that advantage with everybody else so it’s actually no advantage to anybody because we’re all on a level playing field in that regard.”
Kilcoo booked their spot in the last eight with a handsome victory over Fermanagh champions Derrygonnelly last weekend and while Scotstown got to see their opponents live in action, Kilcoo have the benefit of having won a game in the competition already.
“You expect nothing else than a huge challenge” added McCague. “The competition itself, it gives your players the opportunity to test themselves against the best and that’s what’s coming down the tracks to us.
“Players by their nature want to be challenged and that’s the challenge ahead of us. That’s an advantage from our point of view alright (having saw Kilcoo) but from their point of view they have the advantage of having won a game and the momentum that goes with that.
“I think I would nearly prefer to have a win under the belt, but we’ve been dealt a different hand. We’ll have to make the best use of that advantage that we have and it’s a good test for us as a management team in terms of what learnings we can take from their performance, and we can use that information.”
Heading into the weekend, Scotstown will have a full hand to pick from as there are no injury concerns in their changing room following their county campaign.
“We’re great, we have a really good medical team backboning us and they’ve done tremendous work right throughout the Monaghan Championship to have everyone fit and well so we’re picking from a full deck.
“The way the championship went in Monaghan with the structure, it’s heavy on players but thank God we came through it unscathed,” he added.