And then there were four…
The Quarter-finals have been contested and there are four teams still in it to win it.
It was a bitter sweet day for Derrygonnelly midfielder Ryan Jones who scored a goal in his side’s win against Teemore but was also red-carded.
With their place in the semi-finals confirmed on the weekend of September 7-8, the men still in with a chance of getting their hands of the New York Cup reflect on a successful weekend for their respective teams.
The first team to book their place in the semi’s was Roslea, on Friday night when they overturned Newtownbutler. Shamrocks centre half-back, Niall Cassidy says:
“It was nice to put it right after last year when we went out in the first round. To lose last year by a penalty in the last minute, to Derrygonnelly, really hurt. Now, we’ll look forward to the Ederney game and concentrate on that.”
Cassidy is the oldest member of the Roslea team and boasts two championship medals. Reflecting on their performance, the 31 year-old said:
“We were a bit sluggish in the first half but in the second half we got going and a lot of our younger players showed well in the second half.”
Asked what his thoughts were on drawing an in-form Ederney side, he says:
“Ederney have to be favourites now and will be fancied to win. We’ll have to be in top form if we’re going to get the win. We went down there a couple of weeks ago and got a right beating. They are a very hard-working team but if we play the way we know we can, we shouldn’t fear any team.”
Ederney’s Enda Ferris will be hoping to halt Roslea the next day out. Ferris scored two points (one 45) in his sides dramatic win over reigning champions Tempo, on Sunday afternoon. Ferris admits it was looking like a draw at one stage:
“It was very tough going but the belief was there and we never gave up. There were some colossal performances throughout the team, especially Marty (McGrath) in midfield, he dominated. I thought it had a draw written all over it but we dug away and got the last couple of scores.”
Roslea now stand between Ederney and their first championship final since 2006 and the 26 year-old believes they’ll have to improve, if they’re going to progress:
“We’ll need to improve and we’ll need to keep Seamie and Sean (Quigley) quiet. Hopefully we’ll get a couple of players back as well.”
Another man who has had a long wait for championship glory is Belcoo’s Stephen Maguire. The 35 year-old has been playing senior football for the O’Rahilly’s for the past 18 years and on Saturday evening he chipped in with 1-02, in their victory over Erne Gaels.
“At my age it’s great to still be involved and be able to contribute to the cause. I haven’t scored a goal since last season,” he laughs. “Before the match we knew it was going to be a tough game. They (Erne Gaels) beat us in the league but we put in a good team performance on Saturday and we had a good first half, where we were on top in a lot of areas.”
They now play Derrygonnelly in the semi and Stephen knows they’ll have to up their game:
“Derrygonnelly had a good win over Teemore and we know that performance wouldn’t be good enough to beat them. They are top of the league and are probably favourites to win the championship. But we’re motoring along nicely and we’ve hit a good bit of form in the last few weeks and have a settled team. We’re taking a lot of confidence from that,” he says.
Ryan Jones from Derrygonnelly played midfield in 2009 when the Harps last landed the championship. The County man had a bitter-sweet game on Saturday when his team defeated Teemore. Jones bagged a goal but was later sent off, after Martin Higgins issued a straight red card, for a high challenge on Gerry Quinlan.
“It was good to get the win but the sending off was disappointing. I thought it was harsh enough, I went in to check his (Quinlan) run but caught him high. Martin Higgins had to make a decision in a split second which isn’t easy.”
Looking ahead to the Belcoo game which he may miss due to suspension, he says: “I’m sure it’ll be a tough game. I wasn’t at the Belleek v Belcoo game but they racked up a serious score from play. They seem to have picked up a bit of form of late and any of the four teams left will fancy their chances,” says the 22 year-old pharmacy student.