By Shaun Casey
EMYVALE were drawn the short straw in the Championship as they were grouped with Corduff, Magheracloone, Doohamlet and Cremartin, the top four teams according to the Intermediate League table.
Manager Gerard McCrudden states that his side’s main goal is to compete with the top teams and hopefully reach the decider.
“Emyvale have got to the semi-finals of the Intermediate Championship this last four years in a row and they’ve just fallen short all the time, they just haven’t been good enough really,” said Scotstown native McCrudden.
“They’ve probably just been lacking a wee bit so if we could get ourselves to that stage, I would imagine two wins would most likely qualify us for a quarter-final.
“We’re looking to hit a semi-final but obviously the main goal is to try and challenge Corduff, Magheracloone and Doohamlet to win a championship, those teams have all won Intermediate Championships in the last four or five years.”
Having defeated Cremartin in the opening round, coming back from the concession of a goal in the opening minute, all attention now turns towards Doohamlet this weekend.
“It was something that we spoke about early on and we kind of knew, I’d watched a good bit of Cremartin. Kevin Nolan, the former Dublin player, he plays full-forward for them, and a lot of their game is high ball into him.
“Straight away they got a free in from the throw up and the first one went in, and we dealt with it okay, but it just broke unfortunately for us, and I think it was the wing half-forward that came in and punched it into the net.
“We’d an awful start but we recovered well, we just composed ourselves and we kept the scoreboard ticking over.
“We turned the ball over about ten minutes after that and we broke up the pitch and Robbie McAlister scored the goal and from that we never really looked back.
“We got a very tough group, we were actually grouped with the four (league) semi-finalists, the way our fixtures work out it gets a wee bit harder. Cremartin finished fourth, Doohamlet finished third. We have them next up in Doohamlet so that’ll be a tough fixture.
“We played them in the first league game, and they beat us by five.
“We would probably know them rightly and they would know us, it’ll be just whoever performs on the day, but it’ll be a tough game.”
McCrudden’s charges are beginning to find some form at the business end of the season despite a disastrous start to the league. But the return of county men Ryan McAnespie and Karl Gallagher has added serious quality.
“We had a tough league campaign now; we were down seven or eight starters really the whole league.
“We actually lost our first five but since the county finished, we’ve gone undefeated, we got those
few boys back and we’re undefeated.
“We’ve been going rightly since Monaghan got knocked out, but it was probably just too late for us to make a league quarter-final.”