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Ulster IFC – Galbally’s Ulster final is an acid test for club

Ulster Intermediate Football Club Championship final

Galbally v Magheracloone

Saturday, Athletic Grounds, 1pm

By Niall Gartland

GALBALLY boss John Moylan says Saturday’s Ulster Intermediate final against Magheracloone will reveal whether they have any hope of mixing it up with the elite band of Tyrone teams in Division One next year.

Magheracloone had a dismal 2018 (relegation, a sinkhole splitting their club pitch in two, that sort of thing), but they reached the Monaghan Senior Championship final as recently as 2017 so it’s safe to say they’re going to be no pushover.

They can call upon the likes of Tommy Freeman, who is still going strong at 38, and Monaghan county player Gavin Doogan, and Galbally boss John Moylan thinks the Ulster decider will live up to its billing.

“I’ve no doubt that they’ll be the best team we’ve played all year. They’re very experienced and physical and from what I’ve seen of them they’re very impressive. I think it’s going to be a very tough test, they’re a senior team really.

“The way I see it, we’ll find out on Saturday if we’re fit to compete in Division One next year.”

The Pearses wrapped up the league just over a fortnight ago, and Moylan says it was still a monkey off the back even though they already had the Tyrone Intermediate Championship in the bag.

“People might have assumed we’d lose interest in the league after winning the championship, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

“For about the first ten games of the year, all we thought about was the league. We had an opportunity to win it earlier than we did but that didn’t work out, so there was pressure to get it out of the way so we could focus solely on Ulster.”

Moylan was also delighted to learn that Galbally duo Conor Quinn and Daniel Kerr have been drafted into the Tyrone team in recent weeks. That means there are now three Galbally players in the intercounty set-up, and Moylan isn’t that concerned about the possibility that it could actually hinder the club’s progress.

“I’m absolutely thrilled for them, and it’s a great reflection of Galbally’s standing at the moment. We have boys of that quality who should be on the team. The way I see it, all the successful teams in Tyrone have a few county players, so to compete at that level you need a few players of that quality and experience. Hopefully it’ll be another stepping stone for us.”

Galbally arguably produced their best performance of the season to date – and there have been plenty of contenders – in their one-sided semi-final victory over St Naul’s. Moylan just hopes they haven’t clicked too soon.

“I have to say we played well and were clinical in everything we did, but I don’t think St Naul’s clicked at any stage and I’m sure they’re very disappointed with that.

You have to always look at your own performance but also at what was put up in front of you. I don’t think they did themselves justice and I hope we didn’t peak too soon, that’s my only concern.”

It’s been an exceptionally busy few months for the team, and Moylan is wise enough that there’s no merit in flogging the players in training at the moment.

“When we played St Naul’s it was the ninth week in-a-row that we effectively had a do-or-die game and I’m very mindful of that. We’re doing small bits on the field and a bit of gym work. We judge what is appropriate for the team – doing a bit extra with the lads who aren’t getting as much football.It’s important that we’re fresh mentally and physically.”

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