Aghaloo upbeat heading towards Championship

A Five-point win for Aghaloo on Sunday against Drumquin nudged them into third place in Division Three and while manager Stephen Donnelly was happy at the win, especially after finding his side four points down, getting players back from injury is the main boost ahead of the Junior Championship.

The O’Neill’s have been unable to get momentum going in their league campaign, though they have battled their way to a playoff spot with two fixtures remaining

Donnelly, a stalwart at the club for several decades, is joined by Brian McAnenly, Paul O’Hagan and Ronan Gildernew along the sidelines. He was happy with the win at the weekend against fellow promotion chasers Drumquin.

“ We did well to win the game after being four points down with twenty minutes to go.

“It showed a bit of determination for sure when it looked as though the game was slipping away from us and that was the most pleasing aspect.”

Carrying that level of work into the Championship would be ideal for Stephen and his squad and with key players returning at just the right time and others hitting some excellent form things are looking positive.

Aghaloo will be raging hot favourites for their Championship opener against struggling Killyman, whom they also meet beforehand in the League

“ The Championship is a completely different environment and all the teams will be attacking their first round games,” added Donnelly.

“ We are missing a number of players from last year’s Championship run (when they lost to Stewartstown in the final) but we are still looking forward to the next month.

“We know that we need to be at our best to be really competitive in this year’s Junior Championship.”

On the plus side the injury issues that dogged their league are clearing up, and the performances of several players has to be heartening. Ruari Mc Glone rattled in a fine goal last week, Niall Mc Elroy was a constant threat up front, Niall Henderson came off the bench to good effect, and Stewart Douglas shone in at midfield.

No dark clouds ahead of the Championship though as Donnelly points out the League has offered other players game time.

“ The positive side to our injury crisis has been that a number of young lads have been exposed to games at this level.

“That will bring them on and hopefully they will embed themselves into the team in the very near future.”



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