Butlersbridge must raise their game for Steelstown challenge

By Kieran Lynch

BUTLERSBRIDGE got the win last time out against An Ríocht, but their manager Daragh McCarthy says they will need to raise their level of performance in their semi-final match-up with Steelstown Brian Og’s.

“The performance against An Ríocht won’t be good enough against these lads to be honest with you, and I’m sure An Ríocht probably feel the same,” said McCarthy.

“The two teams were a little bit nervous starting off, it was the first time in Ulster for a lot of them and it was a cagey first round in Ulster, and I suppose we got the right end of it.

“Overall, as a performance we look back at it and reflect, and we saw areas that we’ll need to improve on for the next day.”

McCarthy believes he has seen his team respond to the challenge well and they have been showing signs of improvement in training.

“They’ve responded massively. We had a great weekend there on Friday and Sunday. The intensity was really there, back to where we were during our own club championship, and I’m quite happy with it,” he said.

“We have a clean bill of health, everyone chomping at the bit, and it’s what you want really, isn’t it?

“It’s coming up so close to Christmas and we have young fellas there doing exams, and working in retail and stuff like that, but you know what? They have all fully committed to it.”

McCarthy’s belief that his team will need to be on top of their game is based on what he has seen from Steelstown, and it’s clear the respect that he has for the Derry champions, and how well they are coached by Hugh McGrath.

“They’re a good team, a well set-up team,” he acknowledged.

“What I’ve watched from these lads is that they can adapt really well in games. They look to see what way the opposition set-up and they work from that.

“They have great confidence in themselves that they can do that; not to say that they don’t go out with a game-plan, but they don’t go out and say, ‘we’re going to go ultra-defensive.’ They kind of have a look and go, ‘right, let’s see what way they’re set up and we’ll bring our game to it.’”

McCarthy also identified the quality players Steelstown possess among their ranks.

“They’re very pacey in the forward line. Ben McCarron, Neil Forester, young (Cahir) McMonagle inside is a good footballer, (Mark) Foley with the experience, (Eoghan) Bradley – they have loads of experience there.

“They’ve got lots of county experience and pace, and they can get back and defend very well, then counter-attack, which is something we have studied and I’m sure they’ve studied Butlersbridge. It’ll be all on the day, and I think it’s going to be a great game.”

Steelstown will provide Butlersbridge with a difficult assignment this weekend, but McCarthy enjoys the challenge, and embraces every moment of his team’s Ulster journey.

“It’s about facing each game, and it’s just about enjoying it. I’m really looking forward to this game on Saturday,” said the Butlersbridge manager.

“The first game was about looking to see what way the lads would react and play on the day. They got through it, but since then they have upped their games, so I think their ambition is to get a good performance in on Saturday, and we’re going to need that because Brian Og’s are a very good team, and that’s the challenge.”







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