Burns hoping for a perfect finale

By Niall Gartland

WHETHER it’s with club or county, Pomeroy skipper Frank Burns will give his utmost for the cause.

Tyrone’s All-Ireland campaign ended earlier than any of us would have liked with a bruising last-eight defeat to Kerry, but there was never any questioning of slackening off as Burns returned to his club duties with Pomeroy.

It’s been an enjoyable few months after a difficult couple of years with Pomeroy. They hadn’t won a single championship game since being pipped by neighbours Galbally in the 2019 Intermediate showdown, but they’ve embarked on an impressive run to this year’s final.

Burns can’t wait to take to the field for Saturday’s Intermediate Championship final against the Moy as he and his teammates, not to mention friends, go in search of the Paddy Cullen Cup.

“It’s a big thing being captain of your club and with that comes a lot of responsibility,” said the Pomeroy captain.

“But at the same time, it’s only really a nametag. Of course you have to lead by example but our team is full of leaders all over the field and any one of them could be captain.”

He continued: “It’s definitely been a good experience playing with the boys I grew up with and the club I’ve been playing with since I was four or five years old.

“When you’re with the club it’s all in, and when you’re back with the county, it’s all in. No matter what set-up you’re in, you have to give it your all.”

One of the gratifying things about Pomeroy’s campaign is that some less familiar names have certainly done their reputations no harm with a string of eye-catching performances. Yes Frank Burns, Kieran McGeary and Hugh Pat McGeary are central figures but the likes of Ronan Duffin, Jude Campbell and others have been superb.

Burns: “We’ve a lot of upcoming players, and you know what, I’m just glad that we’ve gone on a bit of a run in the championship this year.

“Although we haven’t got the job done yet, the last few years we were knocked out in the first-round. The championship is the shop window for some of these up and coming lads to really show the county what they’re made of. I’m happy that we’ve gone on a run and they’ve been able to show their quality to anybody watching including county management.”

Standing in Pomeroy’s path is a Moy side that upset the odds in the semi-final clash against Clonoe. The O’Rahilly’s had been rampant but Sean Cavanagh’s Moy took the wind out of their sails with an excellent all-round team performance, and Burns wasn’t especially surprised by the outcome.

“I knew it was going to be close so I wasn’t that surprised. I know how good the Moy are from playing against them in recent years and from looking at the nature of their wins in the first two rounds.

“They have excellent personnel so they’re definitely not a team you can write off. I wasn’t surprised they got the better of Clonoe but I did think it’d be a point or two either way so it was a bit of a surprise they won pulling up.”

The Plunketts have won the Tyrone Intermediate Championship four times in their history. Burns knows that if they’re to add a fifth to the roll of honour list, they can’t afford to dip in and out of the game this weekend. At times they’ve been inconsistent, but when they’ve been good they’ve been downright excellent.

Burns said: “We’ve been playing in patches and it’s something we’re conscious of. Beragh had us on the ropes in the first-half and it was a similar story against Owen Roes in the quarters.

“We knew a 30-minute performance wouldn’t be good enough against Derrylaughan on the last day out and we did better but again, what we produced against Derrylaughan won’t be good enough against the Moy. We’re going to have to put it together for the full 60 minutes, we’re well aware of that.”

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