Cleary provides perfect Steelstown swansong!

Steelstown's Stephen Cleary.

Steelstown's Stephen Cleary.

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STEPHEN Cleary went into Saturday’s game with a warning hanging over him - ’Help us to two points before you leave or else!’

Michael Wilson reports

Hugh McGrath’s revelation about his top forward who leaves for Germany this week was tongue-in-cheek. Cleary’s response was not. Seven points and the crucial role in setting up Brian Scallan’s second half goal was the perfect farewell.

“Stephen was warned that he couldn’t leave without helping us to two points,” revealed McGrath, “He is a top class footballer and something this county is crying out for. He is 6ft 2in, 14st, has a great turn of pace and is a great finisher so we will miss him but we try to adapt our game and it is an opportunity for someone else to come in.”

The Steelstown manager admitted Saturday’s game was one he side may not have won a couple of seasons ago.

“It is always good to get two points early on the board. Craigbane have held a bit of a hoodoo over us for the past couple of seasons but if you keep working hard, you’ll get the rewards and that’s what happened. A couple of years again, when we got pegged back there in the second half, we would have folded but that game shows the development we’ve made that guys were able to knuckle down and drive it home to get the win.

“Marty’s penalty save saved us in the end but I think that was deserved because I don’t think it was a penalty but those twists and turns happen in every game and it’s how you react to them. I think we reacted positively to everything.

“We are happy with where we are at but we want to use this as a platform to push on. There is no point taking two points off Craigbane but then not competing in the next game.”