Coa manager Colm McCann saw his Coa side secure the Fermanagh Junior Championship on Friday night and then is now savouring and Ulster meeting with Armagh side Tullysaran.
Tullysaran made history by defeating Clonmore, 1-13 to 0-8 in the Armagh Junior Championship Final two weeks ago and with players like Patrick Comiskey, Eddie Mallon and Ciaran O’Riordan the Coa side will be up against it on Sunday. McCann however says it’s an opportunity for his side to create history.
“It’s a chance for us to make a name for ourselves,” said McCann. “We know they won the Armagh Junior Championship for a first time ever so they will be still brimming with confidence.
“They are second in the league which is impressive as Armagh club football is of a very high standard and I will be looking to get a video of the Armagh County Final to get a feel for what they will be bringing to the game on Sunday.”
On the victory over Belnaleck, McCann said his players did him proud.
“We are all just over the moon with the win. It was an extremely tight game and a tight battle throughout. I suppose in the last 20 minutes we upped the game and thankfully it was enough to see us win the championship.
“I feel Belnaleck tired a bit late on and the sending off was a critical blow to them. We moved the ball really well and we had some really key performers throughout our side. Ryan Hanna at centre half back in my opinion was something else, defensively we were spot on and Darren McQuade’s free taking up front was brilliant.”
McCann’s side went the long way around winning the Junior Championship with a defeat against Belnaleck in the first semi-final. They had to regroup and face Brookeborough in a semi-final before taking care of Belnaleck in the final.
“It was nip and tuck throughout but we always knew the game was going to be tight,” said McCann. “Belnaleck’s Mark Gallagher really impressed me with his driving runs while Kane Connor and Conor McAuley were very good when they got onto the ball. I felt over the course of the game we did enough and we have enjoyed winning the Junior Championship, but know we can now write history and get a win on Sunday against Tullysaran.”
The Coa side will now also play in the Intermediate Championship in 2016 and McCann says it will only be good for the club, “We all want to be playing at a high standard and in playing in the Intermediate Championship it will surely improve the players. Irvinestown have done really well in this year’s championship while Derrylin were real surprise packets of the 2014 championship. We will be looking forward to 2016, but know we are going to be facing some very tough sides.”
Coa are an experienced side with players like Eoin Donnelly, Darren McQuade, Gary Lynch, Julian Carters and Ryan Hanna carrying plenty of match-time into Sunday’s clash with Tullysaran. However, youngster Patrick Murphy was superb on Friday night and McCann believes it’s players like Murphy that must now carry the baton for the future.
“Coa are a small club with a small pick of players. We work with what we have and we know without big numbers we are always going to be challenged in games. The players are a committed bunch and we will give Sunday a good lash and hopefully it will cap off a fantastic nine days for us.”
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