Players admit tough semi-finals lie ahead
The Target Express Senior Football Championship threw up some surprises and some shocking score lines last weekend. League form counted for little as the last eight teams went head to head. The players at the heart of the action gave us their reaction to their Quarter final victories.
Tempo's Daryl Keenan helped his side to a convincing 12 point victory over Derrygonnelly. Despite being sent off for a second yellow card, for what he himself described as a "clumsy tackle", he landed 9 points from frees and was delighted to come away with a win:
"We're very pleased because we came up against a Derrygonnelly team who are a very good championship outfit. The game was a lot tighter than the score line suggests. We worked hard, tackled well and got the scores at vital times. It was a tough game we just got the crucial scores at the right times."
Looking ahead to their next game against the Belleek men he says: "We'll be under no illusions about Erne Gaels because they overcame a very good Ederney team and we'll have to put in a very good performance to beat them."
Tempo bowed out at the hand of Teemore last year in the semi-final, so they'll be hoping to go one step further this time around. The feeling is good amongst the squad he says:
"A run in the championship brings a great belief to the team and it brings the community together. It's great for the underage teams as well because they look up to the senior players. We've only won two games though and we've still a long way to go."
Erne Gaels earned their place in the semi-finals with a one point win over favourites Ederney. Corner forward Damien Lyons was on the winning side and says:
"It was a tough match and it could have gone either way but thankfully we showed enough character to get the win. This is a very young team and its 12 years since we last won a senior championship match and there's only one player on the current team, Dara McGrath, who has won a senior championship match."
The next challenge for this young and relatively inexperienced team is Tempo and he believes it will take "the whole team to show up on the day. There's no reason why we can't be there or thereabouts. As has been proven, any team can beat any other on a given day."
Lyons has been involved with this team for the past decade and their nothing to lose attitude has gotten them this far, whether it gets them to final remains to be seen.
The other semi-final pairing is the mouth-watering tie between Lisnaskea Emmetts and St Patrick's Donagh. Both teams progressed with wins over Newtownbutler and Enniskillen Gaels respectively.
Lisnaskea Captain Mark McKenna says: "we were just relieved to get past Newtown, we didn't play well and just about scraped through. If we produced another performance like that we wouldn't be going much further in the championship" warns the full-back. With one derby victory under their belts they are now setting their sights on the next gruelling encounter. The Emmetts will bring the experience of the weekend into the next game and hopefully progress, says Mark:
"Last weekend we all knew the Newtown boys and similarly the next day we'll know the St Pat's boys. I suppose it has given us a taste for it. It's the first time in a long time we've put together two championship wins in the same season, so hopefully now we can take it on and reach the final."
The Donagh men will aim to halt the Emmetts party though and one man who could do just that is Pat Cadden. The St Patrick's talisman hit nine points on Saturday against Enniskillen Gaels but he is not focussing on what he can do but what the team can do:
"I was happy with it but as long as the team win, it's the main thing. I just happened to be there at the right time. On another day I could kick nine wides!" quips Pat.
Reflecting on the win he said: "We're into bonus territory now. It's great to keep our season going for another while. In the first half it all just clicked at the one time and we just overrun Enniskillen and our work rate was phenomenal. In the second half, we died off a bit and that was a bit disappointing."
Looking ahead to the derby draw with Lisnaskea he says: "It's something to look forward to. There's a great rivalry but they'll be favourites given they're playing Division One football. We'll give it a lash though," concludes Pat.
This article appeared in Impartial Reporter 23 Aug 12