by niall mccoy
LIATROIM attacker Oisin McManus has said that they already feel that they have proven some doubters wrong following last week’s return to the Down Senior Hurling Championship.
The side, managed by Jim ‘Jingo’ McKernan and club hurling legend Brian McAleenan, faced Ballygalget in their first outing. A superb scoring contribution from McManus, along with a late Conor McCrickard goal, meant that only seven points separated the sides at full-time.
The side now face last year’s Ulster finalists Ballycran in a backdoor game in Ballygalget on Sunday (2pm), and the county man is hoping that they can again show that they belong.
“It’s the pinnacle of Down hurling, it’s where you want to be playing,” he said.
“We played these teams the whole way up through u-16, minor and u-21 and we were beating them.
“We feel we deserve to be there and the Ballygalget game was very enjoyable even though we lost.
“We were nervous going into it, some of the boys were a bit tentative as they didn’t know what to expect.
“There were a lot of positives though. I think plenty of people around the county, including maybe some close to home, felt that we were going to lose by 15 or 20 points but we showed well and settled down.”
Ballycran’s loss to Portaferry after extra-time means that they provide the opposition this weekend – and McManus is hopeful that they can once again be competitive even if the result goes against them.
“We are a young team, there’s only maybe one or two who are a bit older on the squad. A lot of us have been on the same run through underage.
“We won the Junior Championship three years ago, we won two Intermediate Championships, so it’s great to take the step up.
“This year maybe is no results based, it’s about getting the confidence to show that we can compete at this level.
“Boys were saying after it that they enjoyed it, and you don’t always get that at lower levels.
“They can be tight games and you’re coming off very sore, but everyone was happy. It was something different.”
The two winners from last weekend are also set to meet this weekend with the winner advancing to the final while the loser will play the winner of Liatroim and Ballycran.
Portaferry needed extra-time to see off the ‘Cran last weekend with Conor Mageean grabbing the only goal of the game in the 1-17 to 0-18 win.