By Niall Gartland
CARRICKMORE teenager Lorcan McGarrity is having a debut championship campaign to remember, and he’s keen to take the next step of featuring in the blue ribbon event of county final day.
It won’t be easy – Clonoe have parked a lacklustre league campaign and wins over Moortown and Donaghmore have undoubtedly restored a great deal of confidence – but Carrickmore will feel they have the tools at their disposal to claim a second victory in eight days in Pomeroy.
Last weekend, they secured a hugely dramatic one-point win over their parish rivals Loughmacrory.
Goalkeeper Jack McCallan grabbed the headlines with a sensational winner with the last kick of the game, but let’s not forget that McGarrity (still only 19 years of age) hit an equally impressive free in injury time. It was some win Carmen.
McGarrity said: “It was unbelievable, the atmosphere was class and Pomeroy was packed. I’m delighted to be on the winning end of it, Loughmacrory came at us hard.
“We were four points up and Loughmacrory showed their quality, breaking the line, drawing men in, and getting their scores. We showed good character in the end up to get a one-point win.”
McGarrity, won an All-Ireland U-20 medal with Tyrone this year, says that reaching the senior championship final is the obvious next step for the reigning Division One champions. They can’t afford to take their eye of the ball – the O’Rahilly’s have shown their mettle already in this year’s championship.
While Clonoe finished in the relegation play-off spots,, they can bypass their looming fight for survival if they pull off a huge shock and win the O’Neill Cup. Stranger things have happened, so Carmen can’t afford to take them for granted.
“It’s been a good debut season for me in the championship. We got a wee league win last year, so hopefully we reach the county final, that’s the next step for us. We know it’s not going to be easy against a hardened and experienced Clonoe team.
“They ended up in the relegation zone, but once it comes to the championship, that kind of thing means absolutely nothing. They’ve come this far, beating tough Moortown and Donaghmore teams, so we’ll definitely not be taking them for granted. It’s all systems go this week for us.”
Carrickmore will welcome back Sean Donnelly, who missed the Loughmacrory match after picking up a red card against Coalisland.
While forward Danny Fullerton was injured in the lead-up to their quarter-final, he was able to come on in the second-half, and they still have hugely experienced veteran campaigners like the ageless Martin Penrose.
McGarrity said: “Those lads like Barry Daly, Conor Gormley, Marty and Sparky [Donnelly] have shown their class on and off the pitch. They give the younger lads like myself good advice and that’ll be vital going into the Clonoe game.”