Late drama ‘not good for the old ticker’ – Black


Clogher Valley celebrate scoring the winning try in injury time to take them into another Towns cup final

An injury time try and touch line conversion to send Clogher Valley through to the Towns Cup Final ‘weren’t good for the old ticker’ admitted coach Davy Black.

The All-Ireland Junior Cup finalists were made to sweat until the dying seconds until a late David Sharkey try levelled the scores against a strong Ballymena IIs side. With the final kick of the game Paul Armstrong converted from the touchline to send the away support into raptures.

“It was a very tough game away from home,” explained Davy “they had a very strong side against us. It certainly was stronger than what a second side should be and it was tougher than we expected.”

He continued:

“Credit to the lads though, they were out on their feet and battered it up for 20-25 phases and then Besty hit Sharkey on the right touchline who cut inside to score five metres in from the corner to level the scores. Then big Paul Armstrong, a young man of 20 years of age held his nerve and struck it over .

“He’s very cool and very laid back, maybe too much at times. You hope he’s going to do it and we had faith and confidence in him and he stepped up brilliantly and flicked it over.”

In a remarkable season for Clogher Valley in which they have clinched the league title and narrowly lost in the All-Ireland Junior Cup, Black’s side are now gunning for their fourth Towns Cup crown.

He admits it is no coincidence that they more often than not come out on the right side of tight games.

“We put a lot of hard work in on the training park, this last six, eight weeks there hasn’t been a man who has missed training. When you average 25-30 every night from the beginning of the season it is no coincidence you’re winning games, having those numbers is exceptional for a junior club. The boys also work hard on their fitness outside of training with weights and extra training to improve their game and Glenn Kyle leaves no stone unturned.”

“They’re a special bunch of lads, they’re great fellas to work with and they really want to be successful and there is a real hunger there.”

In a hectic season Clogher have endured a mini injury crisis, but at the same time have swept aside their competition. One rare setback was the defeat to Wanderers two weeks ago in the first of their conference play offs, but Davy was not too downhearted.

“They were a side built to go back to the All Ireland League and were way in excess of the size of our boys, but were quite individual, we were the better team. We made two mistakes and they capitalised on them, but I could not have asked for any more than the guys gave.”

On Saturday Clogher Valley host Connacht conference champions OLBC from Galway before travelling to Cork to play Kanturk and if successful in both games could face a play-off with an All Ireland Senior side or be promoted automatically. And after that there is just the small matter of a Towns Cup final with Donaghadee. Davy though is taking it one game at a time.

“We can’t get ahead of ourselves, there are no easy games now, but I know if our boys perform it takes a mighty side to beat us.”


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