By Alan Rodgers
A DEFEAT in the Ulster Intermediate final three years ago has chastened Galbally as they aim to reverse their fortunes in this year’s decider.
The Pearses meet Corduff of Monaghan in Newry on Saturday night. It’s a game offering them the opportunity to make their mark at provincial level, and they enter the tie knowing that victory will secure them a place in the All-Ireland series.
But first Paddy Crozier and the players are fully focused on the task ahead of them. Three years ago, they lost out to Magheracloone, and the memory of that game means that forewarned is forearmed for them as they prepare for this latest appearance.
Team captain Aidan Carberry was on that team in 2019 and he’s well aware of the need to learn from the experience.
“We have the experience of playing in an Ulster final, and hopefully that will stand us in good stead,” he said.
“It was a good Magheracloone team that beat us fair and square that day. We can have no complaints about that. It’s going to be no different on Saturday, for Monaghan produce good teams.
“We need to be at our best to try and get over this Corduff team.”
Carberry has been missing some recent championship matches this year due to injury. However, he was introduced as a second-half substitute against Dungloe in the semi-final and is understandably hoping to play a part in this weekend’s final.
“Obviously it’s always disappointing when you get injured, but especially so when that’s in the championship and there’s games coming thick and fast,” he added.
“You have to take it on the chin and be positive. It’s good to be back in full training again and helping the team in whatever way is asked of me. I’ll be there on Saturday with whatever is needed of me.
“Most of our team have been there before, with a couple of new faces. The likes of John Hetherington, Barry Carberry and Christopher Morris are all new.
“Dan Kerr has been top class for us. It has taken him a while to get match-fit because he was out for a long time. The more games that we can get him the better he will get and hopefully he’ll step up and do the job for us.”
Under the management of Crozier and Joe McMahon, the Pearses have blazed a trail through this year’s championship. After losing to Beragh in the All-County League, the team refocused and the journey which followed took them to the Tyrone title.
Wins then followed against the Derry (Glenullin) and Donegal (Dungloe) champions respectively, leaving them well placed for the challenge presented this weekend.
Of course, the team captain and the rest of the panel are quick to acknowledge the role played by their South Derry and Omagh management team.
“In 2019, we had a strong management team. But it’s a different vibe this year, with outside men coming in,” added Aidan Carberry.
“They don’t have the same influences that your own club men have. Everybody is buying into what they have brought to the table and what they’re saying. They have us playing good football and everyone is enjoying it.
“It’s great to have them on board.”