Introduction of youth vital to latest Clogher win
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Club stalwarts and brothers Ally and Andy Breen are pictured with joint coach Davy Black and the next generation of Valley players.
Clogher Valley captain Barry John Wilson holds aloft the Junior Cup much to the delight of his team-mates and the club.
Clogher Valley Rugby Club's simply superb 2012 ended in style under Ravenhill's lights on Friday night when they held out to win the Junior Cup following a strong Ballynahinch 2nd XV finish.
One point may have been the margin of victory but Clogher were well worth the win and in so doing lifted their fourth cup of the year.
Moreover, they were winning the Junior Cup for the first time in the history.
Historic times indeed for the Valley but the significance of this win was not lost on joint coach Davy Black.
You see, there has been much said about the Valley winning machine, but the key is that the team that won the Junior Cup was different from that which won the Town's Cup or propelled the club to Qualifying One glory.
"The most pleasing aspect is that there are young players coming through the ranks which is great for the future of the club. In this team there were two or three young players on the team that did not play in the Towns' Cup final and another two or three on the bench," explained Davy.
"So to progress with the introduction of youth and to keep that winning habit is great and the win is a big lift for the club, there is no doubt about it."
The joy of winning was also heightened by the fact that Clogher went into this game as big underdogs against a faniced Ballynahinch side.
Davy revealed: "I suppose in other finals we were fancied but this was different. The boys rose to the challenge superbly. We played into the wind and to lead 12-9 at half-time was a great effort given the conditions. In the second half, we pulled away before we lost a player to the sin bin and it was only then that they came back at us. The boys held out well and I have to say we deserved the win."
And Davy is in no doubt as to why the Valley lads held out.
"The training and effort these boys put in was rewarded. The training on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day paid off in those final eight minutes. The fans were also great and the support we received was overwhelming and it definitely helped to get us over the line."
The final whistle was the cue for much celebration and a long weekend was enjoyed in the Clogher Valley.
The Valley's dominance is reaching new heights and they currently hold the Qualifying One title, the Towns' Cup, the Junior Cup and Conference League.
But like any good club, Davy and the players are already looking to new pastures.
"We don't have a game in the Towns' Cup this week as we have a bye but we have two league games after that which we want to get something out of. Then we have the All-Ireland Junior Cup semi-final which is another massive game and yet more new ground for the club. So it has been a great year and we still have plenty to aim for in 2013."
Winning is a habit they say, and one that Clogher Valley are certainly finding difficult to kick.
This article appeared in Impartial Reporter 03 Jan 13