Craigbane manager Kevin Moore admitted he was not surprised by the manner in which his side were forced to ground out Saturday’s Ulster Final victory and claimed the ‘Lily Whites’ had been greatly helped by their Championship action in Derry,
Seamus Mullan reports
“The couple of tough games with Swatragh, in league and championship, really stood to us in Ulster,” explained the Craigbane manager.
“Once we got out of Derry it seemed to be easier than in our own championship. Whether that was baggage in Derry or not I don’t know, what with other teams knowing us but once we came here those matches with Swatragh stood to us because Culloville turned that final into a dogfight.
“But we knew that they were going to do that as we’d watched them and had done our homework on them. They’re a senior team, they’re a good team, they’ve reached three Intermediate finals as well.
“Blain Gormley was outstanding out there today. When football was hard to play in the last 15 minutes or so he stood up to get us over the line. It wasn’t a pretty game of football but the final whistle was great to hear.”
When asked if he’d been surprised at how Culoville played, Moore said he had been expecting a tough game.
“No, definitely not because I knew the type of football that Crossmaglen played John McEntee would have that in his hip pocket. You could see that, even with two men down in the second half, they still had a sweeper sitting in front of our full forward line, No. 6 Fergal Rowland, and he was pushing forward as well. They’re by no means a bad side.
When asked if he was starting to get edgy midway through the second half when they’d not put points on the board he retorted, “Not really as we’ve been depending on our second half displays all season.
It didn’t happen for us there today. Normally we can put a point on the board early on but today it took 25 minutes in the first half, 13 minutes in the second before we scored. Once we got the second score we did push on but it was not a day for forwards. It was a day for a battle and that’s what it turned into though we knew that would happen.”
Even though Rory Moore was sent off near the end on a second yellow card the Craigbane manager pointed out, “Discipline is a key thing for us. If you lose your discipline you lose everything. We’ve lost one player this year and that was an error. He should not have been sent off.
“Culloville lost their discipline for five minutes and it cost them the game. And the two players they had sent off it were two experienced players, not young fellas making stupid mistakes. The only people they let down were their fellow players and their club mates. I’m tired speaking to our players about discipline and thankfully they’ve kept it.”
“We had a few players who didn’t perform to their usual high standards but the conditions didn’t help, although you could not say the pitch was heavy. But it was not easy playing in that wind and rain. But it’s a happy night for Craigbane and it will be a happy run going down that road tonight,” he added.