STAVING OFF the danger of complacency is the prime task facing Urney boss Terry McCann this week as he gets ready to go into Championship battle against massive outsiders Killeeshil on Sunday evening in Carrickmore.
The St Columba’s are raging hot favourites to progress into the Intermediate Quarter-Finals with their opponents propping up the Division Two table and yet to register a win all season. Ronan Murphy and his Killeeshil charges therefore stand on the abyss this Sunday night.
The St Mary’s sit miles adrift of the back at the bottom of the table with no hope of clawing back the deficit. Only a most improbable Paddy Cullen Cup success can grant them a lifeline, though there is a precedent for such a scenario with a seemingly doomed Killyman having sealed the Championship four years ago to stave off the drop and instead earning promotion into the top flight.
Urney in contrast have enjoyed a fairly solid season, even if a promotion via the league is probably just out of reach for them.
The St Columba’s were beaten finalists just two years ago and can be deemed potential dark horses as they prepare to take their bow in this season’s race.
Tyrone panellist Johnny Lafferty will inevitably form the lynchpin of their attack, while Fergal McNulty, Anthony McGonagle and Stephen Lafferty are other pivotal figures who have amassed plenty of big match experience during their careers. The 4-17 to 0-11 hammering they meted out to Killeeshil just two months ago in the league suggest there is a major gulf in class between the sides.
On paper it looks a favourable draw for the local club but former Tyrone midfielder McCann cautions that the tie will only go to plan if his charges approach it in the right frame of mind.
“This Championship match is fraught with danger for us. Killeeshil were a junior team last year and haven’t been going well in Division Two. Winning the Championship is their only route to escape the drop now so that makes them very dangerous.
“They are a real wounded animal and we will have to perform well to get past them. But we’ll be hard to beat because we have talented players who have got the desire and want to do well.
“We have talked about Killeeshil and the dangers of complacency. But I have tried to change the focus to ourselves and not the opposition. Talk is cheap. Everyone thinks we are going to win the game easily but the boys know themselves that the Championship is a whole different animal. ”