Davy Black wears a broad grin as the rain falls softly at the floodlit Cran. His men have just disposed of third place Ballyclare with a 27-0 bonus point win supplying the perfect confidence booster ahead of this weekend’s Irish Junior Cup semi-final clash with Bangor.
Looking ahead to the game, Black was determined that the lessons of Valley’s 14-12 loss to Down outfit in Qualifying League One were learned and applied.
“The home advantage for Bangor is obviously going to big thing for them, but we’re going down there with a wee bit of unfinished business.
“We had a guy hospitalised up there and played the last 30, 35 minutes with a boy red carded, so we’ll be looking to avenge that and ultimately make our way to the final of the All-Ireland. We’ve two sessions to prepare for that and we will work hard. The boys are going to turn out well and they’ll be two good training sessions this week.
“The priority was to get a win today,” said Black. “We played Ballyclare, sitting right behind us in the league so we needed to put in a good performance. It was a game we wanted, a good hard game, 27-0 shows our defence was very good, our scrums were good, our line out was good. The most pleasing aspect was to win with a bonus point and get out injury free.”
“We will mostly focus team play this week. Prepping up on our scrum, our line outs, our backs moves, different tactics.
“It’ll be a matter of ironing everything out. In games like this the slightest wee mistake, a man forgetting to lift, a man forgetting to turn, a man not relying on the inside man, whatever, it’s the fine, fine margins that win All-Ireland semi-finals.
If Valley possess an edge that might take them to victory, then it is surely their indomitable pack, but Black insists Clogher’s scoring power is more evenly spread than the easy caricatures would have you believe.
“The forwards are good, they’re powerful, but, as you would have seen today, if we can create the space for the backs can punish and punish severely,” said Black. “Maybe that’s something that teams might not count on too much when they play Clogher Valley with the power of our pack, but at the minute our backs are as potent a weapon as our forwards. I’m confident that if we can create the space the backs will finish well.
“Scoring hopefully won’t pose us a problem, normally when we get in the right areas we can punish it. I know we’ll be going to Bangor with all guns blazing.”
The story so far
Clogher Valley 43 Connemara 10
Clogher Valley 16 Clondalkin 14
Bangor 14 Enniscorthy 12
Clonmel 15 Bangor 21
Qualifying League 1 meeting
Bangor 15 Clogher Valley 12
The semi-final fixtures
Saturday, 13th December, 2.30pm
Bangor v Clogher Valley, Upritchard Park
CIYMS v Dundalk, Circular Road
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