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Winter nights give Aghagallon that warm feeling

Aghagallon midfielder Davy McAlernon scored a crucial penalty in their quarter-final win over Kinawley

Aghagallon midfielder Davy McAlernon scored a crucial penalty in their quarter-final win over Kinawley

AGHAGALLON joint manager Liam Lavery has enjoyed seeing the woolly hats and gloves come out at training over the last couple of sessions.

The days have been getting shorter and the temperature has been dropping, and Lavery, who takes the side along with Neil McStravick and Oliver McStravick, can’t help but smile at the situation.

“When you’re still playing football at this time of the year, well that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

“When you’re still out training when the floodlights need to start coming back on, that’s a good sign.”

The Antrim men are training in pre-season conditions, but the 2017 campaign is a million miles away from their thoughts as they prepare for Sunday’s Ulster Intermediate semi-final against Monaghan champions Donaghmoyne in Newry (12.45pm)

They’re at this juncture courtesy of a hard-fought quarter-final win over Kinawley with goals from Ruairi McCann and Davey McAlernon (penalty) getting them over the line.

These are exciting times for the St Mary’s club. There is a momentum there and everyone in the parish is getting behind the senior side.

It’s often said that a team is close-knit, but that is undoubtedly true when it comes to this current bunch with cliques and groups redundant inside and outside the dressing room.

That’s all the more impressive because there is a big age gap between a lot of the players with a host of u-21s supplementing the panel over the last year or two.

“There’s just a good feeling there thanks to winning the league and the Antrim Championship,” Lavery continued.

“We won Division Three last year and we were able to bring that confidence into this season.

“We have kicked on from last year and we have probably exceeded expectations at this stage, and it’s just a case of keeping it going.

“We are a young team, but a lot of the young players have now a lot of experience of senior football.

“You have nine or ten u-21s in the squad, but they’ve mixed in well with a few wiser heads.

“The Kinawley match was probably the first time they have experienced the real hustle and bustle of what championship football is about.”

The full interview is available in store today or online here.

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