Kernan – Match for Michaela will be competitive
By Niall McCoy
ULSTER manager Joe Kernan has warned that anyone expecting their match with Donegal to be played at an end-of-season pace are in for a surprise.
The Crossmaglen man, who will have Mickey Harte as his assistant manager on Saturday night, named a very strong side for the contest with every Ulster county, bar Donegal, represented for Saturday night’s match at Casement Park (6pm).
“We want to win this game, and I know Donegal will be the same,” he said. “The players were delighted to take part. This is our fourth year with Ulster now and every year we ask players to play for Ulster, they are delighted to do it.”
Kernan also expressed his pleasure at the decision of the Ard Comhairle to confirm the inter-provincial series for next spring following doubts about its future.
“The match this year in Armagh was a prime example of what the Railway Cup is about. The full-forward line for Munster was players from Waterford, Limerick and Clare with David Tubridy getting man of the match.
“If we had lost it, I would have been delighted for those boys because a lot of players won’t win major honours with their county, and this is their only chance.
“I go back to few years ago when we lost down in Munster. The Tyrone boys got off at the Carrickdale and Davy Harte said, ‘Joe I have an All-Ireland medal and I would love a Railway Cup medal to go with it.’”
The former All-Ireland winning Armagh manager also reiterated his plea for the Railway Cup to be given a more prominent spot on the GAA calendar.
“I would to like it tried on St Patrick’s day, we’ve tried everything else,” he said. “For two or three years we played the hurling in Thurles, which the home of hurling, and the football in Croke Park, which is the home of football.
“The main thing on the day is the clubs of course, but put the Railway Cup on before it and see how it goes. We can only see how it goes if we try it.”
The odds would suggest that Kernan will be in Croke Park on March 17 regardless as home club Crossmaglen are favourites for the club title, and he paid tribute to the work being done by the current squad as they collected another county title recently, their 16th in the last 17 years.
“This is the third year on the go for a lot of those boys, we’ve blooded a few new players this year and there’s a few boys gone.
“It’s unbelievable how they just keep going. Pearse Óg felt that this was really their year and for 20 minutes in the second half they were on top big time, we got over that though and who knows what can happen?”