The respective managers, Moneymore’s John O’Brien and Ardmore’s William McLaughlin will have different targets tomorrow afternoo in O’Cahan Parkn but the same goal.
For Moneymore - after their 1-11 to 0-08 relegation play-off win over Doire Trasna - the target is survival. For Ardmore - after their 2-12 to 0-09 defeat to Glack in the Division 3 promotion play off - the target is promotion.
For both the goal is Division 2 footballf or 2013 but only one of them can look forward to that achievement come tomorrow afternoon.
Moneymore manager John O’Brien acknowledged that he was just happy that, with some players coming back late in the season, he has been able to guide them to the verge of safety.
“At the end of the day, we’ve been trying to blood new players and bring them through this season, “ explained the Moneymore manager, “Rome wasn’t built in a day. You have to work at these things.
“I’m happy that the players came back, the boys are happy that the players came back. At the end of the day, none of those boys are older than 34 and they should still be playing in my eyes. I would have loved to have had them all season and we wouldn’t be in this mess, but at the same time, young lads are stepping up from minors.
“We drafted a few experienced lads into the team because it’s a big step up. Next year, I don’t know how it’ll materialise but we have another game to win now to make sure we have a next year.
“All you have to do is look at the youth that’s coming through. Look down to the grassroots. That’s where it all begins. At the end of the day, the senior team is only the pinnacle of a club. If you don’t have a senior team playing in a strong division, it’s very hard to keep your underage teams in action and wanting to play.
“No matter what club you’re from, the young boys look up to the seniors. The aim is, the boys and the club, we all want to stay up,” added O’Brien.
Ardmore manager William McLaughlin is looking for a reaction from the players after the disappointing back-to back defeats against Glack.
“It was plain to see that the better team won at the weekend,” admitted McLaughlin, “They got off to a dream start with the goal and never looked back. We never got within four or five points of them, it was very, very comfortable for Glack.
“Our boys had no fight whatsoever. Apart from maybe one or two good performances, there were too many passengers in the team. You can talk all you want about players missing and that but, from what I’ve seen, no one has been sticking their neck out and trying to cement a place in the side.”
“I can see no signs of recovery. We’re certainly not looking like we’re getting a response. The turnout in training has been poor and everything’s gone flat. Players being abroad and living away has a big bearing on that too. We have five first team players away at the minute and I understand that guys are in Belfast and others are doing shift work so it’s hard to be there all the time but you can see the drop since the championship.
“It might be better if we didn’t go up now. At the start of the year if someone had said that I’d say, ‘no, we’re good enough and the squad’s big enough,’ but it has been a long season and that’s obviously had an impact on the players because things have changed. We might have to re-adjust our aims for this year anyway.
“It’s becoming a bit like Groundhog Day for us. Every final we’ve showed up for, we haven’t performed and it’s getting tough to watch. You know, I thought last week’s league final in Foreglen was bad but Sunday was on another scale. It makes me almost glad I didn’t see the championship final against Drum because I don’t know what I’d have done.
“Moneymore are a good side and they are fighting for their lives, something we didn’t bring to the table against Glack. I’ve been chatting to a few of the Doire Trasna players and, by all accounts, Moneymore are beatable. Pearses could’ve taken them that last day but they were wasteful.
“But, honestly, if our performances of the last three weeks are anything to go by, it’s hard to see us challenging this weekend. It was that bad on Sunday that I was wishing I had been training all year. I’m not a good player but I’d give a bit more effort. I don’t mind getting beat but it’s the lack of effort I can’t take.”
On the evidence of the two games, Moneymore v Doire Trasna and Ardmore against Glack, it’s hard to see how Ardmore will beat Moneymore. However William McLaughlin will surely be looking to his players to restore some pride in their performance and see where that takes them.