McAnulty: Liatroim players have found their swagger

By Oisín Duddy

LIATROIM are going up against an extremely strong Cullyhanna side in this weekend’s Ulster Intermediate semi-final in Castleblayney – but team captain Gerard McAnulty said it will take something special to knock them out.

The Fontenoys have been here before, winning the Ulster crown in 1998, while their opponents have never been at this stage before. They have, however, defeated Crossmaglen in championship football in recent times, so their talent is obvious.

Liatroim had to hold their nerve in a tense Down final, repelling a late Reds’ surge to win 1-13 to 1-11, to win their second title at that level and their first from that ’98 Ulster-winning run.

The Fontenoys went into the first round in Ulster and secured a comfortable win over Fermanagh champions Teemore on a 3-6 to 0-4 scoreline.

Liatroim had a tougher Ulster quarter-final game against Monaghan champions Killanny, eventually emerging with a two-point success.

For McAnulty, it’s all golden preparation for to their progress back to the senior ranks.

“The way we are looking at this is that it’s a stepping stone for the young team that we have at the moment, we are out of intermediate level now and up to senior club football next year, so we are trying to make the most of it while we are here.”

The Liatroim captain is aware that this match this weekend will be fought to the bitter end given their opponent’s own talented class.

“Cullyhanna are very, very experienced, we are under no illusions it’s going to be tough,” he said. “Cullyhanna are like a senior team in Armagh and have been for years. The quality that they have in their team, Ross McQuillan and Jason Duffy, those boys are serious operators.”

“Their win against Pomeroy was massive so they’ll have plenty of confidence; that was always going to be a huge game.”

McAnulty paid tribute to their management team of Paddy Murray and Sean McElroy who have the team mentally prepared for the semi-final clash on Sunday.

“They brought a lot of confidence and swagger to the team, they brought that from their time Kilcoo, they have that confidence that it doesn’t matter who you are up against you go out and give it your all and you won’t be too far away, and I genuinely believe that the players bought into that.

“We are fully confident coming into the game because the way I look at it, it’s going to take a damn good team to beat us.

“If they beat us fair play to them, but Paddy and Sean Mac have us well set up, and they will do all the video analysis that needs to be done and get the match-ups right and hopefully it will get over the line when the day comes.”

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