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McKee confident but not going to 'overhype' Clogher clash

Published: 22 Nov 2012 13:000 comments

Enniskillen coach Alasdair McKee is confident his side can extend their unbeaten start to the season with victory over local rivals Clogher Valley in the semi-final of the Junior Cup.

Skins coach Alasdair McKee has enjoyed a great start to his time at Mullaghmeen.

Before the cup encounter Enniskillen face Randalstown in the league this weekend. The County Antrim side have lost six of their eight fixtures in a disappointing start to their season, and another defeat to the league's only unbeaten team would see Enniskillen face Clogher Valley in a confident frame of mind.

"Confidence is high but we're not over confident," said Enniskillen coach Alasdair McKee. "It's not an arrogance, it's a belief. We believe in each other and the players know the guy beside them on the pitch is doing their job. It makes for a more relaxed team and club. We will be going into the game to win it. It's a good draw in that it throws up a rivalry but no matter who we got it was going to be a tough one. It adds a bit of spice for both the clubs but even from the players perspective we don't overhype it. The most important thing is that we approach it as another game and I'm sure they will be doing the same. Sometimes when you start worrying about rivalries you take your eye off the ball and become too worried about things. We can only affect what happens on the pitch. Randalstown on Saturday is important too and it's very important we keep our focus for that, and then concentrate on Clogher after that."

Clogher joint coach Davy Black says his club will be approaching the Junior semi-final as they do any semi-final.

"It is a semi-final and we know it won't be easy. We will be approaching it as we do any semi-final and it's a game we really want to win. I suppose the fact that the game is at the Cran will give us a bit of an edge but both teams are battling for a final place and it will be what it will be. Enniskillen have had a good run of wins and will be fairly confident but they know they won't be getting an easy exchange at the Cran."

Whatever the outcome of that derby clash, it has been the perfect start for Alasdair McKee to his coaching career in Enniskillen. Since his arrival during the summer the team have won all six of their league matches and claimed some high profile scalps in the cup. Having worked with the squad through pre-season Alasdair reckons the start they have made was not unexpected. "I'm delighted with how the season has gone but it's not a surprise to me," he said. "I recognised fairly early that there is good potential with this team. We knew early on we would be playing a lot of tough games against the likes of Bangor, Ballyclare, Grosvenor, and then the cup threw up tough draws against the likes of Banbridge and Dungannon. We knew that we had to have a mindset that was going to be firm and we have had that every game we've played."

And he has attributed their early season success to their hard work in defence and the strength of the forwards.

"I think when we're without the ball when we have been particularly strong and that has made a difference in games, particularly in close games," he said. "We are comfortable without the ball for long periods of time and our discipline has been good so we can go a long period without giving away cheap penalties and then force a turnover and get possession back. The other major point has been that the forwards have been excellent. They have really out rucked and out tackled opposition's packs to date and that has given us a platform off which we can play. It's a combination of both of those things but the longer an unbeaten run goes the more someone wants to end it and you have to keep raising the bar every week to stop that happening."

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