By Niall Gartland
IT’S certainly no easy task but Eskra forward Mickey Woods is looking forward to having a crack at league champions Cookstown in Sunday’s Junior Championship quarter-final at Loughmacrory.
Their opponents Cookstown have gone the entire season unbeaten and are bidding to win their second Junior Championship title in three years. Coincidentally it was Eskra they faced in the showdown back in 2021, and when they met midway through the league, Fr Rocks claimed victory on a final scoreline of 2-13 to 0-7.
But while precedent points to a Cookstown victory, Eskra have cause for confidence having claimed an impressive first-round victory over Brackaville last Sunday evening in Augher. They played an enterprising brand of football and had eight different scorers on the day, so their skilful corner forward Mickey Woods is cautiously optimistic ahead of their joust with Cookstown.
“It’s definitely a big game and we’re looking forward to it, but Cookstown will as well. We’ve met each other a lot down the years and it should be a good battle.
“They’re a physical side and know how to play football. They’ve been in Division Three before and know how to win the Junior Championship, but so do we, so hopefully we can get the better of them on the day.”
Eskra have had a few lean patches this year but still ended up finishing seventh in the league and have brought in Gerry Donnelly, who steered the side to the league title two years ago, to help out with the management end of things. The mood has lifted and Woods is hoping they can embark on a championship run.
“We were a bit unlucky in the league, we had a lot of injuries and there’s still one or two lads who aren’t back. If we get everyone back we’d love to give the championship a rattle. It’s a brand new slate for us and hopefully we can get a good run at this.”
The Emmetts laid the platform for their first-round victory over Brackaville with a strong start, surging into a 1-5 to no score lead. They never really looked back and eventually ran out 2-13 to 0-7 victors.
“That was the plan, to get a fast start and try to get out of sight. It was a comfortable win in the end thankfully. We knew Brackaville weren’t going to be easy and there was a period where we made hard work of it but it was good to get over the line.”